Oil industry a driving force in busy year at Lerwick HarbourNews // January 30, 2013
Lerwick Harbour in Scotland attracted higher-than-forecast offshore industry traffic last year as the increasingly buoyant oil and gas sector generated more activity at the deep-water port's expanding facilities.
Figures released by Lerwick Port Authority show that number of offshore industry vessels using Lerwick rose 9 per cent last year to 623, compared with 2011, with the tonnage of shipping at 3 million gross tonnes up 52 per cent. Oil-related cargo jumped 40 per cent to 138,750 tonnes.
Port Authority Chief Executive, Sandra Laurenson, said: “The continuing increase in offshore industry traffic reinforces our investment strategy, including the deep-water quay completed early almost a year ago to meet demand and the commitment to build an extension this year.
"We are projecting more growth in 2013, with support for ongoing decommissioning work and more field development projects, in particular.
"The tonnage of all vessels increased by 11 per cent to 12.5 million gross tonnes, but the overall total of arrivals decreased 4.7 per cent to 5,165, due mainly to roll-on/roll-off ferries out-of-service temporarily for biennial refits and fewer fishing vessels; sail training ships – compared with 2011 when the Tall Ships Races visited; and yachts, due to poor weather.
"There were 15 per cent more pilotage movements during the year at 1,396, reflecting the trend of larger vessels calling at Lerwick.
As Shetland’s principal commercial port, serving the islands’ communities as well as industries, Lerwick handled 997,474 tonnes of cargo, up 13.3 per cent. There was a minor increase of 0.8 per cent in passengers to 161,821. While cruise passengers were up by 22 per cent to 37,572, ferry passengers were down by 4 per cent to 124,249, with the largest monthly decrease in March due to the ferry refits. There was modest growth in ferry passenger numbers in the final quarter of the year. Fish landings totalled 61,314 tonnes, valued at £50.1 million – down 6.7 per cent on volume and 38 per cent on value.
Ms Laurenson commented: “There was a strong performance across various sectors in
2012 and the good signs for 2013 aren’t limited to the offshore industry.
“Last year's record cruise season shows what can be achieved by all-round efforts and, with 45 vessels currently booked, we're looking forward to another busy period.
“Recent announcements on annual quotas for white fish are reasonably positive for the industry which deserves all the encouragement it can get. Our support for the sector includes currently building a new quay which will be the location for a proposed replacement whitefish market.”