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Transport / NorthLink fuel bill projected to drop by £2.5m as costs decrease

THE COST of fuel this financial year for the various Northern Isles ferries that serve Shetland is expected to be around £2.5 million less than it was for 2022/23.

A freedom of information request from Shetland News shows that the total projected cost for 2023/24 for the passenger ferries Hjaltland and Hrossey and freight vessels Hildasay and Helliar is around £19.9 million.

The cost for 2022/23 came to £22.36 million.

The reason behind the shift is the lower cost of fuel. However it is still relatively high following a surge in costs over the last couple of years.

For example, Transport Scotland – which contracts the Northern Isles ferry service to operator Serco NorthLink – previously said the fuel cost for running the vessels in 2019/20 was £12 million.

The drop in fuel costs this year is also being experienced locally at Shetland Islands Council (SIC) when it comes to its internal ferries.

A report to councillors on Monday showed that the SIC budgeted for spending 85p a litre on ferry fuel this financial year.

However, the average spend to date has been 59p a litre, creating an underspend against budget of £1 million.

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