Scottish Transport Statistics No 30: 2011 Edition


1. Introduction

1.1 This chapter provides information about foreign and domestic freight traffic at Scottish ports and inland waterways by type of freight and country of origin and destination. It also includes statistics on passengers and vehicles carried by Caledonian MacBrayne, Western Ferries (Clyde) Ltd, Orkney Ferries, Northlink Orkney & Shetland Ferries, and some of the other ferry services operating in Scotland and some statistics on HM Coastguard search and rescue operations.

1.2 Port traffic statistics methodology changed in 2000, to comply with the requirements of a new EC Maritime Statistics Directive. This produced large changes in the figures for one-port and coastwise traffic, and in the split between domestic and foreign traffic, between 1999 and 2000. Details of the method and notes on the effect of the change are given in sections 3.1 and 4.2 to 4.4.

2. Main Points


2.1 In 2009, a total of 61.8 million tonnes of freight was recorded as being lifted by water transport in Scotland: 19.8 million tonnes of coastwise traffic to other ports in the United Kingdom (including Scotland), 3.6 million tonnes of one port traffic to offshore installations, and 38.3 million tonnes of exports from the major Scottish ports. Only 10.1 million tonnes of waterborne freight was carried for part of its journey on inland waterways in 2009. Compared with 2008, there was a 15% decrease in coastwise traffic and the tonnage of port exports fell by 10%; the other figures were similar to those of the previous year. (Table 9.1[a])

2.2 Exports through Scottish ports rose from 61 million tonnes in 1997 to 73 million tonnes in 2000 before steadily falling to 38 million tonnes in 2009. Figures for 1997 and later years cover exports via major ports only (see section 4.3.3) - eight ports were counted as major ports in 1997 and 1998, there were nine in 1999 and 11 from 2000 onwards. (Table 9.1[a])

2.3 In 2009, a total of 6.3 million tonnes of coastwise freight was discharged in Scotland: considerably less than lifted in Scotland. 2.8 million tonnes of one-port traffic (nearly all from oil rigs) was discharged in Scotland. Imports totalled 13.5 million tonnes, considerably less than the volume of exports. There are no figures on available on inland waterway traffic which is discharged in Scotland. (Table 9.1[b])

2.4 Waterborne freight (coastwise, one port and foreign traffic; both incoming and outgoing) passing through the ports fell by 1% in 2010 to 84.8 million tonnes. This was 35% less than in 2000. A breakdown between foreign and domestic traffic was only collected for the major ports from 1996 onwards. In 2010, the eleven major ports accounted for 95% of the total traffic through Scottish ports. Exports accounted for 47% of the total freight through Scottish ports and domestic traffic (either coastwise or one port) accounted for a third. Imports, and incoming domestic freight were much lower, together accounting for 25% of the total freight through Scottish ports. (Table 9.2)

Ports & Destinations

2.5 Forth (34 million tonnes), Clyde (12 million tonnes) and Sullom Voe (11 million tonnes) accounted for the highest freight traffic in 2010. Forth traffic is 6% lower than 2009, and is 17% below 2000. Clyde's freight traffic increased from 7.2 million tonnes in 2000 to 12.3 million tonnes in 2010. Again, as these figures are for the total volume of traffic, they are unaffected by the change in the method of compiling the statistics. (Table 9.3)

2.6 Bulk fuel accounted for 60 million tonnes (75%) of the total traffic through major Scottish ports in 2010. (Table 9.4)

2.7 Top exporting ports were: Forth (24 million tonnes); Sullom Voe (6 million tonnes); and Glensanda (4 million tonnes). Clyde (7.4 million tonnes) and Forth (4.2 million tonnes) together accounted for almost all the imports. Forth (5.4 million tonnes), Sullom Voe (4.1 million tonnes) and Clyde (2.2 million tonnes) had most outward domestic traffic; Clyde and Aberdeen (both 1.5 million tonnes) and Cromarty Firth (1.4 million tonnes) were the main ports for inwards domestic traffic. (Table 9.6)

2.8 The main types of traffic through the major ports in 2010 were crude oil (42.3 million tonnes), oil products (8.7 million tonnes), coal (6.5 million tonnes), other dry bulk (7.8 million tonnes) and road goods vehicles (2.5 million tonnes). (Table 9.7)

2.9 In 2010 most exports were destined for Netherlands (14.1 million tonnes), Germany (6.8 million tonnes), USA (5.8 million tonnes) and France (3.7 million tonnes) while most imports arrived from Columbia (2.6 million tonnes) and Norway (1.9 million tonnes). (Table 9.8)

2.10 The total number of road goods vehicles and containers passing through Scottish ports, and the weight of freight that they carried, increased by around 36% and 50% respectively between 2000 and 2010. (Table 9.9)

2.11 Inland waterway traffic mainly comprises those parts of coastwise and foreign traffic that are carried on inland waterways. About 10.1 million tonnes of freight were lifted in Scotland and carried on inland waterways in 2009, in line with most of the past ten years (when the total was usually between 10 and 12 million tonnes). Most of the inland waterway traffic was carried on the Forth. (Table 9.10)

Passenger Services

2.12 In 2010, 1.9 million passengers were carried on ferry services between Scotland and Northern Ireland, the busiest Scottish port for this traffic being Stranraer, which accounted for 70% of the total. (Tables 9.12 (a) & (b))

Passenger Operators

2.13 Caledonian MacBrayne ferries carried 5.2 million passengers in 2010, 60,000 (1%) less than 2009. There were 1.1 million cars carried, 42,000 (or 4%) less than in 2009, and 116,000 commercial vehicles and buses, 8,000 (or 7%) more than in 2009. If one excludes the Gourock-Kilcreggan route (taken over in 2001 by another operator), the total number of passengers on Calmac services rose by 531,600 (11%), from 4.7 million in 2000 to 5.2 million in 2010. (Tables 9.13 and 9.14)

2.14 Northlink Ferries carried 305,000 passengers in 2010 (on routes that were operated by P & O Scottish Ferries until 30 September 2002), 4,000 (1%) less than used those routes in 2009 and 28% more than in 2000. Orkney Ferries services carried 331,000 passengers in 2010, 1,000 (0.3%) more than the previous year and 19% more than in 2000. (Table 9.13)

2.15 In 2010, the total number of passengers carried on Caledonian MacBrayne, Northlink Ferries and Orkney Ferries services was 5.9 million. Caledonian MacBrayne accounted for 89% of the total passenger numbers on all these services. (Table 9.13)

2.16 Shetland Islands Council services carried 763,000 passengers in 2010, 19,000 (2%) less than 2009. There were 341,600 cars carried which was 75,000 (28%) more than in 2009. (Table 9.13)

2.17 Caledonian MacBrayne's busiest route in terms of passengers in 2010 was Wemyss Bay-Rothesay, with 735,000 passengers, a 3% decrease on the previous year, and a 8% increase on 2000. Wemyss Bay-Rothesay was also the company's busiest route for car traffic in 2010 with 155,700 car crossings, a decrease of 4% over the previous year. (Table 9.14)

2.18 In 2010, the Western Ferries service between Gourock and Dunoon carried 1,313,800 passengers, 27,400 (1.7%) less than 2009. There were 564,200 cars carried on this route, a decrease of 19,800 (3.4%) from 2009, but 113,100 (25%) more than 2000. (Table 9.15)

2.19 The service between Toft and Ulsta had the largest number of passengers of all the Shetland Islands Council services, with 272,000 in 2010, 7,600 (3%) more than in 2009. This was an increase of 61,000 (30%) over 2000. (Table 9.15)

Punctuality & Incidents

2.20 The level of punctuality for Caledonian MacBrayne lifeline ferry services was 99.9% in 2010-11. For Northlink the level of lifeline ferry services that were both punctual and reliable was 99.8% for Aberdeen routes and 99.2% for the Pentland Firth in 2010-11. (Table 9.16)

2.21 Due to 'Industrial action short of a strike' undertaken by Coastguard staff during 2010, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is unable to provide a detailed breakdown of incident details for 2010. Overall there were 3,669 incidents. (Table 9.17)

3. Notes and Definitions

3.1 The change in the Department for Transport's method of compiling statistics of port traffic with effect from 2000

3.1.1 A new data collection system for maritime traffic was introduced with effect from 2000. As a result, some data for 2000 onwards are not directly comparable with previous years. The reason for the change was to comply with a new EC Maritime Statistics Directive (Council Directive 95/64/EC on statistical returns in respect of the carriage of goods and passengers by sea).

3.1.2 One of the effects of this change is that some data for 2000, principally coastwise and one-port crude oil traffic, and the inland waters penetration of such traffic, are not directly comparable with information for previous years. However, the overall totals are unaffected.

3.1.3 Previously, all freight information was collected from ports annually. Major ports (generally those with cargo volumes of at least 2 million tonnes a year) were asked for detailed information on weight of traffic in and out of their ports, identifying cargo categories (eg liquid bulks, dry bulks, containers, Roll-on-Roll-off etc), and whether they were foreign, coastwise or one port cargoes. Other (minor) ports were required to provide only total weight of cargo inwards and outwards.

3.1.4 In the new collection system, most of the detailed freight information is collected from shipping lines, operators or shipping agents, which are required to supply detailed returns of their inwards and outwards traffic at each major port for each ship, on each route. Major ports (now defined as those with at least 1 million tonnes of cargo a year) are only required to supply summary information (for use as control totals) while other (minor) ports continue to provide just the total weight of cargo inwards and outwards.

3.1.5 One difference between the data from 2000 and previous years affects both coastwise and one-port crude oil estimates from 2000. The new collection arrangements produce much more reliable data on origins and destinations and (when aggregated) coastwise, one-port and foreign traffic summaries. Previously, this information was estimated by ports, with varying degrees of accuracy, particularly for crude oil traffic, which means that origins and destinations for crude oil data in 1999 and earlier years are approximate only. E.g. ports or refinery operators would not necessarily have been able to tell if crude oil was shipped directly from the UK offshore installation, or piped to a land terminal such as Sullom Voe and then shipped out from the land terminal, or if it was imported from a North Sea country or another foreign crude oil producer. As a consequence, it is likely that pre-2000, coastwise crude oil estimates were overestimated and one-port traffic correspondingly underestimated. This leads to the figures for coastwise traffic lifted in Scotland falling substantially in 2000 compared with 1999.


3.2 Coastwise traffic: traffic between ports of the United Kingdom, excluding traffic between a UK port and either the sea bed or an off-shore installation. It should be noted that Table 9.1(a) covers only freight lifted in Scotland, and therefore its figures for coastwise traffic exclude cargoes arriving from other UK ports; Table 9.1(b) covers freight discharged in Scotland, so includes cargoes arriving from other UK ports (including those elsewhere in Scotland).

3.3 One port traffic: traffic between the sea bed or an offshore installation and a UK port. For example, it includes traffic to and from offshore installations, materials shipped for dumping at sea, and dredged sand and gravel etc landed at a port for commercial purposes. The disappearance of the sea dumped traffic is due to the end of sewage dumping at sea. It should be noted that Table 9.1(a) covers only freight lifted in Scotland: Table 9.1(b) contains figures for the one port traffic arriving from offshore installations and any incoming sea dredged aggregates. The reason for the increase in one-port oil traffic is due to increased number of crude oil shipments into Sullom Voe and Flotta, particularly from the newer Atlantic fields west of the Shetlands, Schiehallion and Foinaven.

3.4 Domestic traffic: in the statistics of traffic through the ports, domestic traffic comprises coastwise traffic plus one port traffic.

3.5 Foreign traffic: traffic between ports in the United Kingdom and other countries.

3.6 Inland waterways: in general, waterways bounded by the furthest point downstream which is less than both 3 km wide at low tide and 5 km wide at high tide (spring). However, this definition is not applied strictly: for example, the definition is relaxed, where necessary, in order not to count, as inland waterway traffic, short-haul shipping movements of foreign and coastwise traffic, such as all sea-going traffic to or from major seaboard ports.

3.7 Inland waters traffic: subdivides into coastwise, one port and foreign (in each case, that part of the traffic that is carried upstream of the inland waters boundary, excluding short haul inland movements of sea-going traffic) and internal (i.e. not sea-going) traffic. All passenger and passenger vehicle ferry services are excluded, such as crossing movements (e.g. Gourock-Dunoon) and coastwise ferries entering sheltered waters (e.g. Loch Ryan, on services between Stranraer or Cairnryan and Northern Ireland).

3.8 Tonne-kilometres: where part of a voyage is on an inland waters and part is at sea, account is taken of the inland waterway boundary, so that, in the case of traffic involving inland ports, there is no double-counting of tonne-kilometres between the figures for inland waters and the figures for coastwise, one port and foreign traffic. (This is in contrast to the double-counting of some of the figures for tonnage - for example, if a voyage to another UK port starts on a Scottish inland waterway in Scotland, the tonnage would be counted in the figures for both inland waters and coastwise traffic.)

3.9 Container and roll-on traffic: includes all traffic carried on special container and roll-on vessels, as well as the container traffic carried on conventional services.

3.10 Main Freight Units comprise containers, road goods vehicles, unaccompanied trailers, rail wagons, shipborne port to port trailers and shipborne barges only.

3.11 Persons assisted: Coastguard statistics relating to persons given assistance do not include people who are rescued.

4. Sources

4.1 Most of the data in this section is supplied by the Department for Transport (DfT). The Scottish Government obtains shipping service information from Caledonian MacBrayne, Western Ferries, Northlink Ferries, Orkney Ferries, Shetland Island Council and some of the other operators of shipping and ferry services.

4.2 Waterborne Freight Lifted in Scotland (Table 9.1)

4.2.1 Statistics of waterborne freight (coastwise traffic, one port traffic and inland waters traffic) are compiled by MDS-Transmodal Ltd under contract to the Department for Transport.

4.2.2 A number of data sources are used to determine the level of coastwise traffic, including the tonnage of goods reported in the port traffic statistics, (see below) and other surveys, and information about vessel movements. (The vessel movement data include the Northern Ireland, Orkney and Shetland ferry services, but exclude ferries operated by Caledonian MacBrayne and others in and around the Western Isles.) The pattern of coastwise shipping flows, by port and commodity group, is represented by origin and destination matrices, and combined with Admiralty information about the distances between ports. Where appropriate, account is taken of the inland waters boundary, so that there is no double-counting of tonne-kilometres between inland waters and coastwise shipping, in the case of traffic involving inland ports. The method which is used to derive the statistics of coastwise shipping involves some adjustments and reclassifications. As a result, the totals that it produces do not match the port traffic statistics for reasons which are described in the DfT Statistical Bulletin Waterborne Freight in the United Kingdom.

4.2.3 The principal sources for the statistics of one-port traffic are the port statistics (see section 4.3 below) and information about the distances between the ports and the at sea origins and destinations of the traffic, such as offshore installations and dumping grounds.

4.2.4 The sources of the inland waterway statistics are described in section 4.4 below.

4.3 Traffic at Scottish Ports (Tables 9.2 to 9.9)

4.3.1 A new system for collecting detailed port traffic statistics was introduced in 2000 to comply with the requirements of an EC Maritime Statistics Directive. Annual traffic returns are made by shipping lines or their agents and port authorities. This information has been used to derive data on coastal and one-port traffic, and on the inland waters penetration of such traffic. From 1 January 2000, shipping lines or their agents are required to supply detailed statistics of foreign, coastwise and one-port traffic for all cargoes loaded or unloaded at major UK ports. Major ports are now defined as those ports with cargo volumes of at least one million tonnes in the previous year, plus a few smaller ports. The major ports handled 97 per cent of total port traffic in 2000. In addition, port authorities at the major ports are required to supply inwards and outwards control totals for each cargo category. For all other ports, the port authorities are required to supply just two figures: total inwards and total outwards traffic. The lack of detailed statistics for these minor ports means that a degree of approximation is required in the statistics for their traffic. For more details about the new data collection system, see DfT's publication 'Maritime Statistics'

4.3.2 For 1999 and earlier years, the port traffic statistics were produced, for the most part, from the records made by each port authority of the dues levied on goods passing through the port (supplemented, in some cases, by figures supplied by others).

4.3.3 From 1995 to 1999, the smaller ports (then defined as, generally, those with less than 2 million tonnes of traffic per year) were not required to supply detailed statistics - they provided only two figures, their inwards and outwards traffic. Full details of freight traffic were collected only for those ports with at least 2 million tonnes of cargo in the previous year (and for a few ports with less traffic): these were called the 'major' ports. In the 1995 and 1996 surveys, there were seven 'major' ports in Scotland: Aberdeen, Clyde, Cromarty Firth, Forth, Glensanda (on Loch Linnhe, south-west of Fort William, which exports crushed granite, which is classified in the statistics as crude minerals), Orkney, and Sullom Voe. In the 1997 and 1998 surveys, there were eight: these seven plus Cairnryan, which was counted as a major port because its 1996 return of its inwards and outwards totals had shown that its traffic exceeded 2 million tonnes in 1996. In 1999 the number of 'major' ports increased from eight to nine, since total traffic at Peterhead had exceeded 2 million tonnes in 1998. In 2000, with the introduction of the new definition of a major port (at least 1 million tonnes), Stranraer and Dundee became major ports, bringing the total in Scotland to 11.

4.4 Inland Waterways (Tables 9.10 and 9.11)

4.4.1 Statistics for internal traffic (ie traffic which is wholly within inland waters) are collected directly by DfT's contractor, MDS-Transmodal, from all known operators using personal interviews and postal questionnaires, supplemented by statistics from British Waterways collected primarily for toll levying purposes. Some information is also drawn from Maritime Statistics Directive returns where traffic is classified as internal movements and these traffic movements are then excluded from other traffic estimates to avoid duplication. For traffic moving to and from the open sea, the figures for inland waterway tonne-kilometres are calculated using information about the distances from each inland waterway boundary to the ports and wharves which are upstream of the boundary.

4.5 Shipping Services (Tables 9.12 to 9.16)

4.5.1 The Scottish Government obtains shipping service information from DfT (in respect of the services between Scotland and Northern Ireland, the Rosyth/Zeebrugge and Lerwick/Europe routes). The Scottish Government writes directly to Caledonian MacBrayne, Western Ferries, Northlink Ferries, Orkney Ferries, Shetland Island Council and the other major ferry operators in Scotland for the required information.

4.6 HM Coastguard Statistics (Table 9.17)

4.6.1 Statistics on search and rescue operations are obtained from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

5. Further Information

5.1 UK water transport statistics can be found in the annual DfT publications Maritime Statistics, Waterborne Freight in the UK and Transport Statistics Great Britain.

5.2 Water freight transport statistics, and figures for Scotland/Northern Ireland, the Rosyth/Zeebrugge and Lerwick/Europe routes - Maritime Statistics Branch of DfT ( Tel: 0207 944 4131).

5.3 Passengers and vehicles carried on ferry services within Scotland - Andrew Knight, Transport Scotland Transport Statistics Branch (tel: 0131 244 7256).

5.4 Punctuality of lifeline ferry services - Transport Scotland Transport Group: Bob Davie (CalMac figures) on 0131 244 7243 and Peter Bald (NorthLink figures) on 0131 244 5312.

5.4 HM Coastguard statistics - Wendy Wood, Maritime and Coastguard Agency (tel: 023 8032 9416)