Island businesses spell out the damage

Island businesses have been vocal this week about the extent of economic damage inflicted by the ferry crisis.

By Brian Wilson
Thursday, 27th May 2021, 9:28 am
Several routes throughout the network have been affected, including Barra to Oban
Several routes throughout the network have been affected, including Barra to Oban

The return of the Loch Seaforth is delayed for the sixth time and is now tentatively set for Monday.

Even if some kind of normality returns, there are calls for urgent steps to protect the network, starting with the chartering of at least one vessel, probably the Pentalina, a move which has been repeatedly rejected by Minsters and CalMac.

In a letter to the Scottish Government’s Transport Secretary, Michael Matheson island contractor Mark MacDonald of O’Mac Construction, described the intense pressures the ferry issues were putting his business under.

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He told Mr Matheson: “You have been told for years the issues caused by yourselves and CalMac and no matter how many times you are told you don’t want to commit to implementing the changes required to give us the efficient service we deserve.”

The chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, Tavish Scott, entered the fray saying “ferry disruption has to be addressed as a matter of urgency”. Particularly smaller companies in the supply chain were struggling in the face of uncertainty and delay.

Another major employer, BASF Pharma, told the Gazette: “A reduced ferry service has meant that customers and suppliers coming to our site have only three hours to safely load or offload which has posed huge challenges.”

Continued on P3