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Drop in harbour activity

While there has been a dip in the first half of 2017, the port expects to set new records for activity come September. Photo: Shetland News/Neil Riddell.

PASSENGER numbers and fish landings at Lerwick Harbour were down in the first half of 2017 compared to the previous year.

A later start to the cruise ship season and scheduled dry-dock periods for the two NorthLink ferries accounted for a 10 per cent decrease in passengers to 72,889 for the first six months of the year.

The footfall of cruise passengers was down 29 per cent to 13,977, but Lerwick Port Authority expects records to be broken after a busy July and August.

The overall number of ships arriving in port was down 5.5 per cent to 2,199, while oil-related arrivals were down six per cent.

Total fish landings stood at 16,126 tonnes, with a value of £17.9 million. This was down 26 per cent on volume and 7.5 per cent on value. However, value of whitefish landings was up 4.4 per cent.

Lerwick Port Authority chief executive Sandra Laurenson said: “Activity levels in the first half were a matter of timing. Peak cruise traffic is later, in July and August, and the port will set new records by September. Ferries off-route for scheduled maintenance and upgrade are a necessary, periodic occurrence.

“While the downturn in the oil industry continues to work its way through, we are entering the next phase with decommissioning work, including the arrival of the Buchan Alpha floating production facility in August for lengthy dismantling and recycling.”

The figures come after two port authority projects were nominated for this year’s Saltire Civil Engineering Awards

The recently launched £16.5 million Mair’s Pier development at Holmsgarth in Lerwick and the Dales Voe south quay extension have both been recognised.