Lerwick port bosses are gearing up for a record cruise season and higher fish landings this year.
They also expect ongoing project support for the oil and gas industry, particularly for subsea work in the Atlantic, to help shield the harbour from the recent plunge in crude prices.
Lerwick Port Authority (LPA) chief executive Sandra Laurenson said: “There are a number of positives going forward.
“The 52 cruise ships booked this year are ahead of 2013, which was a record year for passengers.
“Increases in some key fishing quotas should mean higher landings.”
Oil and gas-related work will remain a “significant area of our activity for the foreseeable future,” she added.
The look ahead to business this year comes after a busy 12 months for the port in 2014.
LPA said Lerwick’s importance as a gateway for Shetland’s communities and industries was underlined by an increase in passenger traffic, cargo handled and fish landed last year.
Total passenger figures were up by 11.8% on the previous year to 179,352.
Numbers on the roll-on/roll-off nightly ferries between the port and Kirkwall and Aberdeen grew by 2% to 135,629, despite disruption on the route caused by vessel servicing.
A recovery in cruise business last year saw the number of people visiting Lerwick this way increase by 64% to 43,723.
Cargo shipments making use of the deepwater harbour’s 13,000 feet of quays increased by 2% to 1,192,286 tonnes.
There were 5,078 vessel arrivals in 2014, down 6% – due mainly to fewer fishing boats, following a busy year in 2013.
Total shipping tonnage was down 7% to 12.2million gross tonnes without the major boost to the 2013 total from shipments of rock needed for a project offshore.
A record 10.5million gross tonnes of shipping was handled by LPA’s pilots last year. LPA said the 3.8% year-on-year rise was due to larger vessels using the port, although the number of piloted movements was down by 5.6% at 1,418.
Fish landings totalled 69,973 tonnes, worth £61.2million, which were up by 4.7% in volume and down 2.4% by value.
The fish haul included 9,700tonnes of white-fish, worth £15.8million, which were down 12% in volume and 7% by value, with the average price up 5% to £1,637 per tonne.
In the pelagic sector, the volume and value of summer herring decreased and an increase in mackerel was offset by a drop in prices in the autumn.
Ms Laurenson said overall activity levels were “as predicted”, adding: “The year ended on forecast, underpinning our financial performance and confidence in the continuing development of the port.”