Urgent support required for ferry operators and ports

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson has written to the UK Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps asking for further assistance for ferry operators during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Operators have experienced significant losses over the past few weeks with operations in certain areas continuing to drop. It is expected that decisions will need to be taken on the loss-making routes and capacity in the coming days to mitigate the losses.

In a joint letter issued by the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Governments, some of the asks include an immediate and temporary relaxation of the competition regulations and confirmation that seafaring companies will qualify for the HMG employee support scheme.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said:

“My officials and I have kept in touch with ports and ferry operators over the past few weeks and they have expressed substantial concerns with their operations over this difficult period.

“I believe that without further intervention operators will need to take difficult commercial decisions which could be avoided, and that it will be extremely difficult to recover from that after we make it through this crisis. Current reductions in freight traffic are also a serious issue in their own right.

“There is a strong case for the UK Government to do more to support this vital sector during these unprecedented times and I look forward to their response on this important matter.”

Published 3 Apr 2020 Tags