Western Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan met with representatives of Stornoway Port Authority and Planning Minister, Derek MacKay at the end of last week about major proposals which the Port Authority discussed for the first time publicly.
The Port Authority’s plans centre on the increasing attractiveness of Stornoway as a destination for large cargo vessels crossing the world in the future via the North East Passage, a route which the retreat of the Polar Ice Cap is already beginning to open up to navigation.
Alasdair Allan commented:“The meeting was an opportunity to raise the Port Authority’s ideas with the Government. While at a very early stage indeed, these ideas open up the fascinating prospect of large international vessels transferring cargo into smaller vessels in Stornoway for distribution throughout Europe and particularly the Baltic. Stornoway is certainly geographically well placed for such business which would create significant economic activity for the Western Isles if feasible.
“More immediately, there are also prospects for the bunkering of vessels in Stornoway, which has the advantage of being outside the sulphur emissions control area which covering much of the rest of Europe including the whole east and south coasts of Britain and which excludes many larger vessels at present.
“While the Government is obviously not in any position to comment on these plans until it receives more information about them, today was a chance to set up a dialogue between the Port Authority and the Scottish Government, and as local MSP I will continue to help facilitate these discussions.”