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Marine / LPA reports positive progress

Photo: John Coutts for Lerwick Port Authority

LERWICK Port Authority enjoyed a “very positive” increase in traffic in the first half of 2023.

It has returned to, or in some cases exceed, pre-Covid levels.

There were 2,432 vessel arrivals in the six months to June – an 11 per cent increase overall compared to the same period last year.

The arrivals include increases of 15 per cent in fishing vessels and six per cent in oil-related shipping.

The overall tonnage of vessels at 5,992,043 gross tonnes, was also up slightly on 2022 figures.

The first half of 2023 included handling shipments of Viking Energy wind farm components.

There were reductions in cargo, down three per cent at 424,195 tonnes overall and down seven per cent for roll-on/roll-off cargo.

This reflected increased cargo in the first half of 2022 as a result of the ferries being used to transport sand and aggregates during the construction of the Viking wind farm.

A total of 108,732 passengers, on ferries and cruise ships, used the port in the January-June period, a 24 per cent increase compared to the same period 2022 when numbers were still returning to normal post-Covid.

There were 123,180 boxes of whitefish landed at Lerwick in the first half, a one per cent increase compared to the same period in 2022.

Landings remain steady, with prices holding, while pelagic landings continue to be strong.

Port authority chief executive Captain Calum Grains said: “The encouraging first-half figures continued the recovery to pre-covid levels, reflecting positive contributions made by recent energy sector project activity.

“Growth in Shetland’s cruise industry means the prospect of a record season, and strong visitor numbers supporting the marine tourism sector.

“Significant efforts were focused on port preparations for the return of The Tall Ships Races in July.

“The period also saw positive engagements with developers on the potential for future marine support for wind farm projects.”

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