Final meeting of Stornoway-Ullapool taskforce
The Stornoway-Ullapool Ferry Project Taskforce has met for the final time, chaired by Minister for Transport and Islands Derek Mackay.
The 5th meeting of the taskforce took place today (Thurs 21st May) following the completion of the replacement of the linkspan at Ullapool Harbour – the final stage of the project.
The group, comprising of all the major stakeholders linked to the project, was set up to oversee the completion of infrastructure works and the entry into service of the MV Loch Seaforth on the Stornoway-Ullapool route by the end of May 2015.
Whilst this will be the final meeting of the Taskforce, all members will continue to closely monitor the performance of the vessels and infrastructure on the route.
Mr Mackay said:
“I’m very pleased that we can now bring this Taskforce to a close, as it means we have achieved what we set out to do.
“The completion of the harbour works at Ullapool is the final milestone for the group, and all members can now focus on providing a first class service for passengers. I want to see the momentum that the Taskforce brought to be carried on by all stakeholders.
“We now have a larger, purpose built vessel and two substantially upgraded harbours to better serve the communities on both sides of the route.
“Everyone on this Taskforce has worked incredibly hard to get the project back on track and deliver it in full, whilst keeping disruption to a minimum. I would like to thank all members for their efforts since the formation of the group in January.
“This has been an excellent example of partnership working between a number of organisations and I believe we can use this approach as a blueprint for similar projects in the future.
“Finally, I would like to thank ferry users and the communities for their patience during this process and hope that they will now start to reap the benefits of the project.”
Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Cllr Angus Campbell, said:
“The establishment of the Ministerial Taskforce to oversee the completion of the introduction of the MV Loch Seaforth on the route, including the period of disruption arising from the Ullapool linkspan works, was very much welcomed and should be highlighted as an area of good practice demonstrating excellent collaboration and engagement.
“The momentum associated with the taskforce and its associated stakeholder groups must not be allowed to diminish in terms of other western isles ferry issues.”
The Scottish Government has secured funding of £42 million for the MV Loch Seaforth. It has also invested £17 million in the infrastructure works at Ullapool Harbour and £9.6 million in the infrastructure works at Stornoway Harbour.
The Taskforce is made up of representatives of the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, CalMac Ferries Ltd, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd, Stornoway Port Authority and Ullapool Harbour Trust. Although they did not join the Taskforce, The Highland Council performed a valuable role as harbour authority for Uig.