Wednesday 17 April 2024
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Marine / Record year for passenger numbers at Lerwick Port Authority

Photo: John Coutts for Lerwick Port Authority

A RECORD number of passengers came to Lerwick by ferry or cruise ship in 2023, new figures show.

These contributed to a total passenger figure of 285,616, which was up 63 per cent on the previous year as the recovery from Covid continued.

This figure includes 161,713 NorthLink passengers and 129,903 cruise visitors. The year 2023 also included the Tall Ships visit to Lerwick.

Meanwhile Lerwick Port Authority’s (LPA) pilot boats also enjoyed a record year in 2023.

The tonnage of ships piloted was 15,430,213 gross tonnes, a record amount which was up 33 per cent on 2022. There was a 29 per cent increase on pilotage movements, up to 1,023.

There were also rises in offshore industry traffic, although overall tonnage dropped by 23 per cent given that in 2022 there was the arrival of the Ninian Northern platform for decommissioning.

While there was a two per cent decrease in fishing vessel arrivals, there was an increase of 14 per cent in the number of whitefish boxes landed, to 232,701.

Looking forward, the port authority expects support work for the Rosebank oil development west of Shetland to begin in the spring.

LPA chief executive Captain Calum Grains said: “There was a welcome recovery to normal operations in 2023, post-Covid, with a strong performance across the sectors and an outstanding contribution by all involved in our increasingly important marine tourism activities.

“We can now plan the future with renewed confidence, with the recently completed reclamation at Arlanda available for future pelagic sector improvements, another potential record-breaking cruise season, start of the support for the Rosebank field development in the spring, progressing plans for our unique Ultra-Deep-Water Quay and strengthening our relationship with windfarm operators.”

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