TURNOVER at Lerwick Port Authority (LPA) was down six per cent in 2017 due to a drop in oil and gas activity – but the cruise ship sector enjoyed continued growth.
LPA’s annual review for 2017/18 says the organisation had an overall turnover of £10.5 million, with an operating profit of £2.2 million – down from £3.9 million the previous year.
Cruise ship turnover was up three per cent, accounting for over five per cent of the annual turnover, and further rises are expected in the next two years.
The oil and gas industry accounted for 23 per cent of turnover in 2017, down from the high of 39 per cent in 2014.
Income from fishing remained steady, while money generated from lifeline ferry services was up. The recent announcement of cheaper NorthLink ferry fares to and from Shetland is expected to further boost numbers.
Chairman Ronnie Gair commented: “As ever, Lerwick is in the fortunate position of having a diverse customer base and a highlight for the year is the strong performance by the leisure sector, especially cruise calls.”
LPA also experienced a first full-year’s operation of the new Mair’s Pier and the extended deep-water Dales Voe quay, which is housing the decommissioning of the Buchan Alpha floating production unit.
Chief executive Sandra Laurenson said further new investments will have to wait after the £6.9 million replacement Lerwick fish market is completed in 2020.
“Activity levels were slightly down, as expected, due to the continuing low oil price impacts,” she said.
“At a time where no overall growth is predicted, a period of consolidation will follow delivery of the replacement fish market and planned replacement for the harbour vessel, Kebister, with further new investments having to wait until the Authority’s borrowings are reduced.”