A CONTINUING increase in cargo handled at Lerwick Harbour in the third quarter brought the volume for the first nine months of 2014 to 910,014 tonnes, up six per cent on the same period last year.
Shipments included 144,243 tonnes of oil-related cargo, a rise of 4.5 per cent.
There was a 14.7 per cent increase in passengers to 154,381, with ferry passengers on the Aberdeen and Kirkwall routes up four per cent to 111,357 and cruise passengers by 61 per cent to a record 43,024.
Sandra Laurenson, Lerwick Port Authority Chief Executive, said: ‘The increases were achieved against a background of an expected reduction in vessel arrivals, with fewer oil-related ships and fishing boats, as well as fewer calls by roll-on/roll-off ferries due to refits, while an excellent cruise season provided a boost.’
The 3,850 arrivals were down eight per cent, with the tonnage of vessels lower by eight per cent at 9.6 million gross tonnes.
As forecast, oil-related arrivals decreased by 5.8 per cent to 503, with the tonnage at 2.3 million gross tonnes, down 27 per cent in comparison to the same period last year when there was a spike in activity due to one-off projects.
Pilotage movements held steady at 1,153, with the 8.9 million gross tonnes of vessels piloted up five per cent due to the increase in visiting cruise ships.
There were 46,414 tonnes of fish landed, valued at £44.6 million – up 1.5 per cent on volume and 9.7 per cent on value.
The 7,480 tonnes of white fish were valued at £11.8 million – down 11 per cent on volume and 8 per cent on value, with the price per tonne increased three per cent, to average £1,582 per tonne.
In the pelagic sector, less herring has been landed this year. While mackerel landings rose early year, the later start to the autumn season has seen moderate landings, continuing into the fourth quarter, with reduced value due to difficult international markets.