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Offshore activity down again at Lerwick Harbour

Work is ongoing to build the new Lerwick fish market. Photo: Lerwick Port Authority

LERWICK Port Authority says the low level of activity in the offshore industry “continues to disappoint” after it released figures for the first nine months of 2018.

The decrease in heavy lift vessels and support ships total cargo from the industry across the deep water port’s quays was down 11 per cent to 622,862 tonnes.

Chief executive Sandra Laurenson said that figure is due to rise again in 2020 when more large-scale decommissioning work is expected to arrive in Shetland.

The number of vessels arriving into the port between January and September rose by 8.4 per cent to nearly 4,000, with tonnage up 8.7 per cent due to more cruise ships, fishing boats and an extra NorthLink freight vessel which was chartered to alleviate capacity concerns.

Total passenger numbers were up by one quarter to nearly 200,000, with the ferries to Aberdeen and Kirkwall enjoying a rise of 3.3 per cent to 111,417.

The burgeoning cruise ship figures rose 78 per cent to 90,336 passengers during the period, with Lerwick Port Authority previously announcing that the upcoming 2019 season will break new records.

Landings of white fish were up 19.4 per cent to 199,066 boxes, with the average price of £1,968 per tonne an increase of seven per cent.

“There were positive signs over the nine months, but the low level of activity in the offshore industry continues to disappoint,” Laurenson said.

“That market is expected to remain quiet in 2019, with decommissioning work at Lerwick picking up again in 2020. Next year will see new records set in the cruise sector.

“Construction is continuing apace on the new white fish market, for completion in early 2020.”