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Marine / Wind farm deliveries boost port authority figures

Deliveries of Viking Energy wind farm parts boosted figures for LPA in the first quarter of 2023. Photo: Rory Gillies, Shetland Flyer Aerial Media.

LERWICK Port Authority has highlighted a better-than-forecast start to the year – with the delivery and storage of Viking Energy wind farm parts proving a big boost.

This accounted for increases in vessel arrivals and tonnage in the first quarter 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.

There were 1,047 vessel arrivals in the first quarter of 2023 (16 per cent more than the same period in 2022), representing gross tonnage of 1.98 million tonnes – 10 per cent more than last year.

For the example the large blades for the wind farm’s 103 turbines have been transported on a cargo vessel by sea to Lerwick.

The nature of the arrivals meant that pilotage was also up 27 per cent, with 152 vessels assisted (gross tonnage 833,867), compared to 120 (gross tonnage 417,642).

There was also a nine per cent increase in the number of fishing vessel arrivals to 560 in the first quarter.

But white fish landings were lower for the period, with 15,170 boxes landed, a reduction of 4,631 on 2022.

Pelagic fish tonnage landed was up in comparison to 2022.

Cargo figures at 185,894 tonnes were similar to the same quarter the previous year, showing the impacts of Viking Energy wind farm from construction materials on the NorthLink ferries last year and shipments of turbine components in 2023.

Passenger arrivals via the roll-on/off ferries were up 37 per cent on the same period in 2022, at 24,031 passengers.

There were no cruise passengers for the first quarter with the season only starting in April.

Lerwick Port Authority chief executive Captain Calum Grains said: “We are delighted to see harbour activity up and welcome the boost which the arrival of the Viking Wind Farm components has provided in this first quarter.

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“Work continues to support all the sectors traditionally serviced by the port, including ongoing efforts to attract further decommissioning projects and the plan to build an Ultra-Deep-Water Quay at Dales Voe.”

He added that port operations returned to pre-pandemic levels as the harbour authority closed out 2022.

“The positive result provides us with the ability and confidence to look forward again and plan for positive investment in our harbour infrastructure,” Grains said.

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