Publication - Progress report

Planning Scotland's Seas: 2013 - The Scottish Marine Protected Area Project – Developing the Evidence Base tor Impact Assessments and the Sustainability Appraisal Final Report

Published: 19 Aug 2013
Part of:
Marine and fisheries

This report provides Marine Scotland with evidence on economic and social effects to inform a Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) for each possible NC MPA, and a Sustainability Appraisal for the suite of proposals as a whole.

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

Planning Scotland's Seas: 2013 - The Scottish Marine Protected Area Project – Developing the Evidence Base tor Impact Assessments and the Sustainability Appraisal Final Report
C.14. Shipping

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

C.14. Shipping

C.14.1 Introduction

This appendix provides an overview of existing and potential future activity for the shipping sector in Scottish waters and outlines the methods used to assess the impacts of proposed MPAs on this sector.

C.14.2 Sector Definition

Shipping provides for the transport of freight and passengers both within Scottish waters and internationally. Commercial shipping routes can be split into two distinct types; transiting vessels passing through Scottish Waters and vessels with either their origin or destination port within Scotland. Anchorages are covered under Ports and Harbours.

C.14.3 Overview of Existing Activity

A list of sources to inform the writing of this baseline is provided in Table C14.1.

Table C14.1 Information Sources

Scale Information Available Date Source
Scotland Number of passengers, cars and commercial vehicles on ferries (graph),
Shipping traffic: no of vessels in a given area during 1 st week of Jan 2010 (map), AIS regional maps
2005-2009 Baxter et al (2011)
The Scottish Government (2011) 'Scotland's Marine Atlas - Information for the National Marine Plan' March 2011.
Scotland Scottish Transport Statistics 2009 Scottish Government (2009)
Scotland Scottish Transport Statistics 2010 DfT (2010)
Scotland Baseline review of data on commercial shipping ABPmer (2012)
UK Shipping intensity (MCA AIS data) MCA / ABPmer (will our dataset cover Scottish waters?)
UK Recommended Route Areas (polygon, line, point) Current SeaZone
UK Traffic Separation Scheme (point and line) Current UKHO

Data from the Department for Transport (DfT) for 2008 shows that 15,173 vessels arrived at the 16 major Scottish ports, the ship type breakdown is shown in Table C14.2; the main shipping routes are shown in Figure C17 with the ferry services are shown in Figure C18.

Table C14.2 Ship type arrivals at 16 major ports

Port Tankers RoRo Container Other Total
Aberdeen 420 673 417 39 1,549
Ayr 1 0 220 2 223
Cairnryan 0 2,543 0 0 2,543
Clyde 188 16 585 345 1,134
Cromarty Firth 49 5 111 4 169
Dundee 60 5 189 17 271
Forth 1,892 161 1,188 97 3,338
Glensanda 0 0 47 106 153
Inverness 158 0 109 0 267
Lerwick 72 677 195 19 963
Montrose 11 0 215 7 233
Orkney 100 1,334 126 5 1,565
Perth 0 0 93 0 93
Peterhead 102 15 109 5 231
Stranraer 0 2,174 0 0 2,174
Sullom Voe 263 0 4 0 267
Total 15,173

(Source: DfT, 2010)

C14.3.1 Location and intensity of current activities

AIS information presented within Scotland's Marine Atlas (Baxter et al, 2011) shows information as a gridded density map, which provides an indication of intensity of sea area use, but not any quantifiable detail necessary to carry out site specific evaluation.

C14.3.2 Economic value and employment

In 2008, a total of 67.4Mt of freight was recorded as being lifted by water transport in Scotland. Of this, 23.3Mt was coastwise traffic to other ports in the United Kingdom (including Scotland), 1.8Mt of one port traffic to offshore installations, and 42.4Mt of exports from the major Scottish ports (Baxter et al, 2011).

Oxford Economics (2011) reports for the Chamber of Shipping have estimated that from a turnover of £9.5 billion, the shipping industry contributes about £4.7bn GVA to the UK. The UK Major Ports Group suggests that ports contribute around £7.7bn to UK GDP. Neither source of information presents a breakdown for Scottish Shipping or Ports (Baxter et al, 2011). It can be assumed that shipping transiting through Scottish Waters, but not making port calls provides no economic value to Scotland. Indirect value may be obtained from transitory shipping through jobs related to safety of shipping in Scottish waters and commodity transportation originating in Scotland, but shipped through other UK ports.

In 2009, the number of jobs for sea and coastal water transport supporting activities was estimated at 4,700, the equivalent GVA was £432M. These values cannot be disaggregated to individual sea areas (Baxter et al, 2011). Employment figures from ONS (2011) are given in Table C14.3 however the SIC codes do not provide a breakdown that directly relates to the shipping industry.

Table C14.3 Employees in the shipping sector

SIC, 2007 Full-time Employees Part-time Employees
2009 2010 2009 2010
Sea and coastal passenger water transport ( SIC 50100) 1,346 1,267 216 245
Sea and coastal freight water transport
( SIC 50200)
612 440 20 64
Renting and leasing of passenger water transport equipment ( SIC 77341) 32 17 1 2
Renting and leasing of freight water transport equipment ( SIC 77342) 115 49 6 7
Total 2,105 1,773 243 318

(Source: ONS, 2011)

C14.3.3 Future trends

Shipping volumes bear a direct relationship to the global economic market. As markets react to the changing financial situation, shipping lines respond with services to move goods and people. The most notable variable to affect the volume and intensity of shipping into the future will be the technology and innovations used to design future shipping. Ship design seeks for bigger, faster and more economic transhipment of goods and people.

The introduction of bigger ships places expectations that existing ports will increase the depth of water in entrance channels and alongside berths to accommodate changing ship requirements. This implies that investment is necessary in port infrastructure, both in terms of shore side facilities and access to the ports. Channel widths may need to increase to take account of the wider ship beam, which in addition may lead to the requirement for turning circles to be enlarged to take account of greater vessel length. Although all of these pressures have to be taken into account, probably the most significant factor to challenge traditional ports in the context of their ability to accommodate bigger ships is sea access, and in particular vessel draught. New future shipping routes may also lead to shipping increases, especially in respect to the potential for a viable North West passage

In respect of lifeline ferry services, which make up significant proportion of vessel movements within Scottish waters, the Scottish Government have prepared a long-term ferries strategy (2013-2022). The Draft Ferries Plan was published in December 2011 and the consultation period ran until March 2012, with the final Ferries Plan published in December 2012. The plan makes recommendations regarding where investment should be focused to improve connections for island and remote rural communities, improve reliability and journey times, maximising opportunities for employment, business, leisure and tourism and promoting social inclusion (Transport Scotland, 2012).

Planned and possible future offshore renewables development over the assessment period could interact with commercial shipping activity. Such development is likely to preclude passage of commercial vessels through areas occupied by arrays with the potential to increase steaming distances and times on some routes. However, the overall impacts on shipping activity are considered to be relatively minor.

C.14.4 Assumptions on Future Activity

Shipping volumes directly relate to the global economic market. As markets react to the changing financial situation, shipping lines respond with services to move goods and people. The most notable variable to affect the volume and intensity of shipping into the future will be the technology and innovations used to design future shipping. It is assumed that numbers of vessels and routes remain relatively constant over the assessment period (2014 to 2034).

C.14.5 Potentially Significant Interactions with MPA Features

The main pressure arising from commercial shipping vessels on features identified within the current list of potential NC MPAs relates to disturbance to seabed habitats from anchoring (covered under Ports and Harbours).

Oil spills as a result of shipping activities may impact all habitat types, although low energy areas such as intertidal habitats will be more sensitive to pollution. In areas of high wave energy, oil will be dispersed quickly. Other pollutants such as sewage or those released by accidental cargo spillage also have the potential to contaminate MPA features, resulting in nutrient enrichment of waters ( JNCC & NE, 2011).

Ballast water discharge provides a key pathway for the spread and introduction of non-indigenous and invasive species which may out-compete native species and cause a shift in community structure ( JNCC & NE, 2011).

C.14.6 Assumptions on Management Measures for Scenarios

The main risk to features identified within the current list of proposed MPAs relates to disturbance to seabed habitats from anchoring. This is covered under Ports and Harbours. The other potential impact pathways are already adequately managed through international law.

In the absence of any significant pressures on features identified within the current list of proposed MPAs, it has been assumed that there will no requirement for additional management measures on the shipping sector and thus no cost impact will arise.

Further consideration of potential shipping impacts could be necessary if NC MPA proposals are brought forward for mobile features such as marine mammals.

C.14.7 Assessment Methods

Not required

C.14.8 Limitations

  • Information on the distribution and intensity of commercial shipping activity in Scottish Waters is not spatially well-resolved.

C.14.9 References

Baxter, J.M., Boyd, I.L., Cox, M., Donald, A.E., Malcolm, S.J., Miles, H., Miller, B., Moffat, C.F., (Editors), 2011. Scotland's Marine Atlas: Information for the national marine plan. Marine Scotland, Edinburgh.

Department for Transport (DfT), 2010. Marine Transportation Statistics. Accessed 07 Nov 2011 :

JNCC and NE, 2011. General advice on assessing potential impacts of and mitigation for human activities on MCZ features, using existing regulation and legislation. Advice from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Natural England to the Regional MCZ Projects. June 2011. 107pp.

Office for National Statistics (ONS), 2011. Business Register and Employment Survey (2008 to 2010). Available at: Accessed: 17/11/11

Oxford Economics, 2011. The economic impact of the UK Ports Industry. May 2011

Transport Scotland. 2012. Scottish Ferry Services: Ferries Plan (2013-2022). 89pp.