Shetland harbour gets £16.5m expansion boost

A £16.5 MILLION construction contract has been awarded for the expansion of Shetland’s main harbour, one of the biggest fishing ports in Europe.

An artist's impression of the expansion of Shetland's main harbour. Picture: John Coutts

The move by Lerwick Port Authority provides both the fishing and oil industries with a major boost with offshore drilling currently underway off the west coast of Scotland and Outer Hebrides.

A new L-shaped jetty at Holmsgarth North will stretch to over 630 metres and provide deep-water berthing of 10 metres of water, as well as more working area to the fishing fleet.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The outer arm of the new pier will create a dock sheltering a planned new white fish market and will also be suitable for berthing offshore industry vessels.

Shetland company, Tulloch Developments Ltd, has been appointed main contractor. Site set-up will start before Christmas and the main works are due to get underway in the New Year, with completion in Autumn 2016. Construction is expected to create up to 50 new jobs.

During the independence referendum Nicola Sturgeon said Shetland was on the cusp of a “second oil boom.”

The Deputy First Minister made the claim amid growing speculation that test drilling on the Clair Ridge project west of Shetland is exceeding expectations.

It is estimated that the west coast oil field contains an estimated 8 billion barrels, with an estimated 120,000 barrels per day production at peak levels.

Speaking in August, Ms Sturgeon said: “Shetland is on the cusp of a second oil boom. Anyone who comes here can’t miss the hundreds of workers coming on and off the islands and the impact all of this activity has on small island communities.”

The design of the proposed jetty is by civil engineers Arch Henderson LLP, who will also project manage the construction. The jetty will extend to 800 metres, with ultimately 10 metres of water alongside.

Port Authority chief executive Sandra Laurenson, said: “The jetty will be a significant addition to our resources and another example of our versatile facilities. While principally benefiting the fishing industry, it will also serve the offshore sector, underlining our commitment to both.

“The latest step towards a new white fish market, Holmsgarth North will reinforce both Lerwick’s future as a leading UK fishing port and the sector’s key contribution to the Shetland economy.”

The development is being supported by funding from Bank of Scotland. David Nicolson, SME banking relationship manager added: “In addition to the 50 jobs that will be created through the construction work, the investment will also be a major boost to the local fishing industry as well as the oil and gas supply chain on the island, supporting future jobs and economic growth.”

During construction of Holmsgarth North, the fishing industry will use Mair’s Quay as the berthing area for net repair and working on gear. The quay, which has brought a range of benefits to the fleet, was completed last year and will be the site for the new market, due to begin construction in 2016.

In addition to this news of work getting underway in Shetland, a closing date for expressions of interest in Perth Harbour has been set by property consultancy Bidwells.

Back in July 2014, the company were asked to seek expressions of interest on behalf of Perth and Kinross Council, who wished to explore options in order to secure the future of the River Tay harbour.

Interested parties have been asked to outline their business case and explain how their investment will maximise the use of the harbour as an economic asset.

The harbour has four main berths and is thought to provide a lower cost alternative to larger coastal ports.

Graeme Duncan, head of commercial property at Bidwells said: “We have received a number of expressions of interest in Perth Harbour, highlighting its attractiveness as an investment opportunity in central Scotland.

“We expect the council to make a decision on whether to progress to the next stage of the process in February 2015.”