Freight Fares Review

The Scottish Ferries Plan 2013 - 2022, published in December 2012, sets out the way forward for ferry services in Scotland until 2022. The Ferries Plan stated our intention to undertake a comprehensive review of large commercial vehicle fares, to develop an overarching policy for freight fares across the entire ferry network. The aim of this review is to deliver a new freight fares structure for all Scottish Government subsidised ferry services, which is simple and transparent, and importantly does not advantage one part of the network over any other and delivers best value for taxpayers.

Working Group

A Working Group was established in 2014 to oversee the strategic direction of the Freight Fares Review.

The Group includes a broad representation of key stakeholders and consists of a representative from each of the relevant Local Authorities, Regional Transport Partnerships, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Road Haulage Association and Freight Transport Association.


  • Transport Scotland
  • Argyll & Bute Council
  • Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
  • Orkney Islands Council
  • Shetland Islands Council
  • Highland Council
  • North Ayrshire Council
  • ZetTrans
  • Strathclyde Partnership for Transport
  • Highlands & Islands Enterprise
  • Freight Transport Association
  • Road Haulage Association

The Working Group has had the opportunity to contribute to the scope and content of research to inform the freight fares review as well as comment on draft reports from the research.


27 March 2017

Agenda and minutes

10 November 2016

Agenda, Minutes

20 November 2015

Agenda, Minutes

23 July 2015

Agenda, Minutes, Presentation, Paper

26 February 2015

Agenda; Minutes

17 November 2014

Agenda; Minutes

19 August 2014

Agenda; Minutes

29 April 2014

Agenda; Minutes

24 February 2014

Agenda; Minutes

Research to Inform the Freight Fares Review

In July 2014, SYSTRA and their partners Peter Brett Associates LLP, ProVersa Limited and The Maritime Group International Limited were commissioned to conduct research to inform future ferry freight fares in Scotland. The research included:

  1. a review of Current Practice for large CVs
  2. a review of Current Procedures and Charging Mechanisms for non-CV freight
  3. a Benchmarking and Best Practice Review for non-CV freight.
  4. development and assessment of fares options.

Consultation on Fares Options

PBA took forward the research and analysis on identifying fares options, with consultation with a wider group of stakeholders on the options taking place in late 2014 and early 2015. The options in the PBA draft report were developed by PBA and approved by the Working Group.

The fares options in the draft report are for illustrative purposes only, in order to elicit the views of consultees. A wide range of stakeholders were invited to comment.

Publication of Research Report

The research report was published on 23 June 2015. There was a consensus view amongst stakeholders that it will be crucial to ensure the outcomes of the Review provide a freight fares policy which firmly supports the economic development and sustainability of the islands.

Further analysis, approved by the Working Group, was undertaken by Transport Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to consider on what basis options should be compared and how options should be fine-tuned in terms of specifying fixed and variable charges and distance bands.

The exact timing of the introduction of the new freight fares structure has yet to be decided. Further information will be made available in due course.