Lerwick port gets major funding boost for £7m expansion

Shetland’s biggest commercial port has received a seven-figure funding boost to support the £7.6 million redevelopment of its fish market.

Carolyn Martin, relationship manager at Bank of Scotland, with Calum Grains chief executive of Lerwick Port Authority. Picture: Contributed

Lerwick Port Authority is creating a new white fish market at Lerwick Harbour to meet increasing demand from the commercial fishing industry, as well as upgrading the seaport’s energy efficiency measures to “position itself for a sustainable future”.

The project, which will more than double the seaport’s existing capacity to a 1,600 square metre market, has received a financial boost in the shape of a £3m funding package from Bank of Scotland, a long-term partner of the authority.

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The redevelopment represents a £7.6m investment and has previously received the backing of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Scottish Government’s Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

It will also aim to use green technology and sustainable building materials to improve the seaport’s energy efficiency, including LED (light-emitting diode) lighting, modern refrigeration, heating controls and insulation.

Set to be completed in early 2020, the authority estimates that these measures will deliver a reduction in energy consumption of up to 50 per cent compared to current usage.

Sustainable stock management practices introduced by Shetland’s catching sector in response to the EU Common Fisheries Policy have increased the amount of fish landed in Lerwick in the last three years.

The business, which has annual revenues of £10m, currently employs 51 people and the new fish market is expected to create additional jobs, both directly and indirectly.

As part of an existing facility, finance for the development has come from Bank of Scotland owner Lloyds’ £2 billion Clean Growth Finance Initiative, which offers discounted funding to help businesses lower their carbon emissions.

Calum Grains, chief executive of Lerwick Port Authority, said: “The improved efficiency and increased capacity of the new market completes a phase of developments to create a modern fit-for-purpose hub for the fishing industry at Mair’s Quay.

“Thanks to [Bank of Scotland’s] support, we are able to grow our business sustainably and efficiently, while reducing environmental impact.”

Carolyn Martin, relationship manager at Bank of Scotland, said: “Scotland is building a reputation as a world leader in sustainable business practices.

“It has been very rewarding to help the team at Lerwick Port Authority capitalise on this trend. It can now meet increased demand for space in its market and futureproof a business that is such an important lynchpin of Shetland’s economy.”