Fish business down, but big vessel policy pays off – Fishupdate.com

Fish business down, but big vessel policy pays off Published:  22 April, 2008

CONFIRMATION that white fish business is continuing to fall at Aberdeen harbour comes in figures issued by the harbour board today.But commercial tonnage is on the up.

Aberdeen Harbour Board say their active commitment in recent years to accommodating large vessels continues to pay dividends, with the port again attracting an increased tonnage of shipping in the first quarter of this year, despite a small drop in vessel numbers.

The ongoing trend of fewer, but bigger ships saw the number of arrivals drop by around 20 to 1,806 in the three months to March, while the tonnage jumped 3.6% to 5.5 million gross tonnes.

Harbour Board Chief Executive, Colin Parker, said: “Our investment in reconstructing quays and deepening berths, with extensive marshalling and lay-down areas, has provided a key asset, giving the port the capability to handle the larger vessels now operating in the offshore oil industry and international trade.”

With around 20 deep-water berths now available, the development of capacity continues as part of the Board’s £57 million, five-year programme to sustain the port’s future.

At 1.2 million tonnes, cargo decreased slightly in the first quarter, just as it did in the same period in 2007 when the port went on to have another record year for cargo, as well as shipping. The disruption to North Sea operations by bad weather offshore earlier this year was a significant factor in the decrease.

Passenger numbers on the Northern Isles routes to-and-from Orkney and Shetland were up 1% at 18,466. White fish landings continued to fall – down 25% in the quarter.

Colin Parker added: “A strong performance in the first three months has been followed by a busy start to the second quarter.”

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