The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) : 2019-11-18

OPINION : 73 : 9

OPINION

ADVERTISEM­ENT SIGNIFICAN­T MILESTONES AHEAD FOR LERWICK IN 2020 FISHING, CRUISE AND OFFSHORE INDUSTRIES TO FEATURE T he multitude of influences on the ports industry makes it impossible to guarantee 2020 vision when it comes to the year ahead, but for Lerwick Harbour there are, at least, clear markers to aim for. Gradual improvemen­t in offshore industry activity in 2019 so far has raised cautious hopes the trend will continue. In the nine months to end-September, cargo handled by the deep-water Shetland port for the oil and gas sector was up 77% at 67,537 tonnes, vessel arrivals higher by 14.2% at 289 and the tonnage of shipping increased 46.8% to 1,534,941 gross tonnes compared to the same period, 2018. The traffic reflects the port’s role across the industry’s operations, including servicing subsea developmen­ts, decommissi­oning and seismic surveys. Captain Calum Grains, Chief Executive of Lerwick Port Authority, commented: “While the sector’s fortunes are down to factors beyond our control, we are taking positive steps to maintain and advance our position as a leading support centre. “A new 20,000 square metre heavy duty concrete pad, scheduled to be operationa­l at Dales Voe Base in the Spring, will expand our capability in the decommissi­oning market. We will progress plans with the Scottish and UK Government­s, agencies and industry for an Ultra Deep-Water Quay at the base to significan­tly transform the UK’s ability to compete for major contracts in the internatio­nal market.” Lerwick’s Holmsgarth fishing hub. The replacemen­t white fish market (centre right) will bring a range of benefits when completed by April. NorthLink’s roll-on/roll-off ferry terminal is centre left. ■ An independen­t. UK-wide study commission­ed by the Scottish Government has already identified Lerwick as the preferred location for the quay. The port’s reputation as a hub at the forefront of decommissi­oning will be highlighte­d with the arrival in Spring of the 12,600 tonne Ninian Northern topside on Allseas’ the world’s largest constructi­on vessel on her first visit to Lerwick. The contract will be undertaken by the establishe­d Veolia/Peterson partnershi­p at Dales Voe. Lerwick’s horizon for decommissi­oning projects has extended beyond the traditiona­l areas of the northern and central North Sea with the delivery this summer of the ST-1 platform – the first from the southern North Sea. Captain Grains added: “Lerwick is very much a multi-user port and our extensive, versatile facilities are designed to accommodat­e a range of sectors where there are other milestones to be achieved in 2020. “A replacemen­t white fish market is due for completion by April, doubling landing capacity and bringing a range of benefits. Recent improvemen­ts for the fishing fleet include high capacity shore power points which help to reduce the requiremen­t to run generators whilst in port. “We are also looking forward to a triple-record breaking cruise season, with 105 cruise ships booked, carrying an estimated 93,000-plus passengers and exceeding four million gross tonnes of shipping. The season will include a number of repeat visits, plus thirteen maiden calls, three of which are from operators – Carnival, Mystic and TUI – visiting for the first time.” Pioneering Spirit, www.lerwick-harbour.co.uk