Q&A - Ardrossan Harbour Redevelopment Project - March 2024

Who is in charge of the programme overall?

The development works at Ardrossan are being overseen by a Ministerial Task Force which brings together:

  • Transport Scotland (TS)
  • Peel Ports Group (PPG)
  • North Ayrshire Council (NAC)
  • CalMac Ferries Ltd (CFL)
  • Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL)
  • the Isle of Arran Ferry Committee (IOAFC) 
  • Kenneth Gibson MSP.

How much will the project cost and who is paying what?

The estimate cost of the project is currently subject to a review and aligned to the business case work that Transport Scotland and project partners are undertaking.

This exercise will provide greater clarity on the cost and the financial packages required from the main funding partners, Peel Ports, North Ayrshire Council and Scottish Government.

A final cost of the project will not be known until  a contract is awarded and the works are  completed.

How long will the work take?

The marine and landside infrastructure works are expected to be completed within 21 (+/- )months of construction commencing. 

PPG are responsible for delivery of the marine and landside infrastructure works as the statutory harbour authority.

When will the works commence?

The procurement stage of the project is paused to allow a business case and cost exercise to be undertaken.  An indicative programme will be provided once the outcome of the business case is known, expected later this year.

Why did it take so long to agree a design when the new vessel should have already been in service?

The planning and design phase; and approval process of any project can be both lengthy and complex depending on the nature of the project. 

The Ardrossan project design phase has taken longer than anticipated.

The Marine concept design was approved in 2019. This will be developed and finalised by the contractor when appointed, as part of a design and build contract type.

The Landside infrastructure concept design, led by North Ayrshire Council was informed by the Public Consultation in early 2022 with the final design to be developed and completed by the contractor when appointed, as part of a design and build contract type.

Peel Ports Group will be undertaking sediment ample surveys on site,  to help inform the procurement and construction stages.

Will the work be complete before the MV Glen Sannox is introduced and if so where will it berth?

The delivery date of the MVGlen Sannox has been announced as expected Spring 2024, thereafter to be deployed to the route around Summer 2024 following crew familiarisation by CalMac. Therefore the works are not expected to be completed prior to the delivery of the new vessel.

The MV Glen Sannox is expected to operate out of Troon with berthing arrangements being part of the service continuity plans.

Will this work reduce the frequency of unscheduled overnight berthing at Brodick?

The proposed works to the Arran Berth are required to ensure the vessel won’t overhang the berth as this results in poor mooring arrangement and fender support. Therefore, it can be expected that the vessel (MV Glen Sannox) will be able to remain on the new berth to a greater extent than present.

As such, the frequency of unscheduled overnight berthing is expected to reduce under the works being proposed.

However, the port of Ardrossan is exposed to swell from the SW – WSW directions and large swell from those directions can enter the harbour area.  As the effect of swell cannot be fully mitigated there may still be a requirement for unscheduled overnight berthing at Brodick, which is determined by CalMac as the operator.

We have heard the MV Glen Sannox won’t fit into the Irish berth is this true and if so, why when larger boats have used it historically.

The works to the Arran Berth should reduce the requirement to use the Irish Berth once completed. The Irish berth however is subject to weather conditions as the prevailing wind directions could impact on service should it be used.

The MV Glen Sannox should fit into the Irish Berth as per simulation outcomes undertaken; however it would be difficult to deliver a safe and resilient service to the Irish Berth given the frequency of service and turnaround times. This is because the ‘entrance’ to the Irish Berth, between Winton and Montgomery piers is narrow and out with safe berthing margins for the size of the MV Glen Sannox.

Berthing is already much slower when the MV Caledonian Isles uses this berth which is largely due to the vessels size.  It is also not suitable for prevailing wind conditions (existing vessels only use the Irish Berth in Easterly or light winds).  Previous larger vessels operating to the Irish Berth only had a poor reliability record and even a grounding, whilst operating a much less frequent timetable than CFL.

What other vessels will be able to use the upgraded berth once delivered?

The new infrastructure will accommodate the primary vessels on the route: MV Glen Sannox, MV Glen Rosa; MV Caledonian Isles and the MV Hebrides.

Consideration is being given to secondary vessels using the berth and any limitations on operation such as tidal restrictions, passenger access etc, for MV Hebridean Isles, MV Isle of Arran, MV Isle of Mull, MV Lord of the Isles, MV Finlaggan, the MV Isle of Lewis and the new Islay class vessels.

Will there be an effective Passenger ramp provided at Troon to avoid everything going thru car deck? Including effective mobility impaired access?

We are continuing to progress with the service continuity plans, which includes passengers access facilities being available to ensure an optimal service can be provided from Troon during the upgrade work.

Will the new building be a copy of Brodick? If two storeys will there be an escalator?

The concept design of the new terminal building, led by North Ayrshire Council has been informed by the Public Consultation undertaken in Spring 2022. Feedback was received and the Report published. 

We can confirm that the building will take cognisance of the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and Health & Safety Regulations in regard to passenger facilities. 

The building  proposals is for two storeys in height with a passenger access system connecting the upper floor to the vessel.

Will the PAS be the same as Brodick?

The design of the Passenger Access System at Ardrossan is the responsibility of CMAL in collaboration with PPG and NAC.  The detail of the  design has yet to be finalised, however the design of the PAS will be significantly shorter than the PAS currently installed at Brodick, and estimated to be around 50metres.  

The Steering Group has taken cognisance of the communities’ feedback regarding the Brodick PAS and has factored this into the design criteria as well as lessons learned from previous projects.

The PAS will  be an integral part of the overall design of the port and will be fully integrated with the terminal building.

Various reports suggest that the skippers have had difficulty berthing on the simulator. Is this true and if so why proceed?

No, this is untrue. The reason for undertaking the simulations was to test the operational limits of the vessel against proposed infrastructure upgrade options, without the risk to actual vessels, infrastructure and people. 

Planned sea trials will offer CalMac Masters and crew the opportunity to experience first-hand how the vessel performs prior to being deployed on the route.

Is LNG safe? Will it actually be more efficient and environmentally friendly?

 Please visit LNG webpage.

Operation of a different timetable - what will this mean?

Our aim is to provide as close to the current timetable where possible when services operate out of Troon.

Following engagement with the Isle of Arran Ferry Committee (IOAFC) a preferred timetable has been developed when operating from Troon.

However no final decision has been undertaken regarding timetables as these are still in development as well as continued dialogue with IOAFC.

The timetables will take cognisance of the demand on the service and passage time from Troon.

What consideration has been given to notifying travellers of the changes to the services not operating from Ardrossan?

Informing travellers of service changes is part of the service continuity plans being developed, which includes discussions with Road and Rail operators.

Will there still be 10 sailings per day?

See Answer 16

How will the work impact the service to Campbeltown and which route will get priority if revised timetable causes conflict?

The service continuity plan and the development of timetables will aim to ensure there is no conflict between services. All timetables that will be put in place will aim to keep disruption and changes to a minimum.

Will connectivity eventually be improved with better bus services including Ardrossan harbour in their route?

Transport Scotland and CalMac continue to work collaboratively to improve integrated public transport connectivity with ferry services at each of the ports, Ardrossan and Brodick.

One of the objectives from Peel Ports and North Ayrshire Councils commitment and investment to the Ardrossan project is to improve accessibility and the quality and reliability of ferry services supported by excellent multi-modal transport interchanges that offer travel choice for all users.

NAC advise this will include active travel and accessibility improvements including upgraded connections to the town centre and existing transport facilities; a virtual platform providing onward public transport information; and a covered walkway to the Harbour railway station.

NAC continues to engage with the Regional Transport Partnership; Strathclyde Partnership for Transport,   and local operators to improve active and sustainable travel opportunities.

NAC’s investment will help grow the economy, increase employment, maximise links and support the regeneration of North Ayrshire.

Are there contingency plans for delays to works?

Yes, contingency plans for disruptions and any delays to the infrastructure works are currently being developed as part of the service continuity planning.

On completion, can Ardrossan cope in summer with 2 boats serving Arran and Campbeltown?

The aim of the project once complete is to deliver a resilient port at Ardrossan.

It is expected that with both the MV Glen Sannox and the MV Glen Rosa  this will provide a resilient ferry service operating to Ardrossan. With this, it is also expected that capacity will be met over the summer months as both vessels provide greater carrying capacity than the current secondary vessel MV Isle of Arran and the Caledonian Isles.

Have freight carriers been consulted to ensure any diversion to Troon will not compromise their services?

As directed at the Task Force in February 2021, Troon has been secured as the alternative mainland port on a temporary basis for the ferry service during the construction period at Ardrossan.

CalMac will work closely with freight carriers to understand their service needs and feed these into the service continuity plans prior to any decisions being taken on timetables. 

Where will the 'alternative mainland port' be during the work?

Troon will be used during the construction period at Ardrossan and will be used as an alternative mainland port to support CalMac services during any periods of disruption.

How will you keep the community updated on progress? Some don’t use social media!

The Isle of Arran Ferry Committee as the islands representative are a member of the Task Force and project steering group. They provide timely project updates to the community and continue to engage regularly with all project partners.

A communications strategy for during the construction works is currently being progressed by the Steering Group, whereby all methods of communication will be used to ensure the general public is kept informed of progress. For example – posters, newsletters in the ports and on vessels as well as a dedicated webpage.

We will also work with local organisations and representatives such as the Arran Ferry Committee to raise awareness of the projects, and it’s progress through their communication channels.

What’s happening about the Troon works?

A separate Troon Q&A is published on the TS Ardrossan webpage.