- Jenny Gilruth MSP - Co Chair – Minister for Transport (JG)
- Cllr Marie Burns - Co Chair – North Ayrshire Council (MB)
- Bill Calderwood - Arran Ferry Committee Secretary (BC)
- Iain Thomson - Arran Ferry Committee – Chairman (IT)
- Karen Yeomans - Executive Director - Growth & Investment - North Ayrshire Council (KY)
- Colin Bradford - Regeneration Manager– North Ayrshire Council (CB)
- Lewis McIntyre - Peel Ports Group –Managing Director, Port Services (LMcI)
- Pauline Blackshaw - Head of Service Delivery Planning, CFL (CalMac) (PB)
- Lauren McEwan - Operational Planning Manager– CFL (CalMac) (LMcE)
- Tommy Gore - Port Manager – CFL (TG)
- David Manek - Ardrossan Project Manager – CFL – DM)
- Kevin Hobbs - CEO of CMAL (KH)
- Ruairidh Campbell - CMAL Liaison Project Manager (RC)
- Graeme McGinty - CMAL – Project Manager (GMcG)
- Chris Wilcock - - TS – Head of Ferries Unit (CW)
- Caroline Connelly - TS – Head of Infrastructure Branch(Secretariat to Task Force)(CC)
- Frances Pacitti – Transport Scotland
- James Anderson – CMAL
- Robbie Drummond - CalMac
- Craig Hatton – NAC
- Andy Crossan – CMAL
- Kenneth Gibson MSP
- David Torrance – TS, Head of Contracts, Procurement & Projects (DT)
Welcome and introductions
JG welcomed everyone to the meeting and apologised that it was not being held in person as previously advised, as she was unable to travel due to disruption on the ferry network. JG welcomed Cllr Marie Burns as successor as co-chair from Cllr Cullinane. JG thanked Cllr Cullinane for his work on this project.
JG went on to say that she recognised the work that the Task Force had done thus far, but acknowledged the project delays and on-going community frustrations. She welcomed the project being at tender stage and was looking forward to hearing more today from PPG on this matter.
JG stated that a lot still needed to be done and that all project partners should continue to work together at pace.
Other apologies were conveyed and noted as above.
All attendees introduced themselves for the benefit of Cllr Burns
Actions – arising from 23 February 2022 Task Force
CC confirmed that only three Actions arising from the 23 February 2022 Task Force remained open. These were:
- Legal/Commercial Agreements
- CalMac – Service Continuity Public Consultation and
- Marine Works – Technical Query. This will be progressed as part of the tender stage.
These will be progressed as soon as practicable.
Ardrossan Steering Group Update
Legal & Commercial Arrangements
CW confirmed that the outcome of the pre-tender exercise will help inform the ongoing dialogue between TS and PPG on the risk sharing profile of the project for the commercial negotiations.
LMcI concurred with CW remarks and stated that this work was expected to be completed by 30 June 2022 and should unlock issues around risk profile and sharing of that risk. PPG will like TS; require time to review the report and make a decision on how each partner wishes to proceed.
JG asked that she be sighted on the outcome of the report and recommendations from TS officials and partners of next steps.
IT asked about the vessels using the Ardrossan harbour and scope to deepen this? CW stated that this was already being looked into as part of the tender process, for example Islay class vessels.
Technical Sub Groups Update
Each of the sub groups provided an update:
CB stated that the Landside consultation was completed in April following an on-line survey and in person events on Ardrossan and Arran. The response to the consultation was good with feedback received which has informed the Public Consultation Report and slight changes to the design of the building. The consultation identified key themes and the report will address these, making clear what we can and cannot address; for example; the request for a ramp to first floor. This cannot be implemented due to the gradient.
- IT asked about overnight parking and 24hr toilet provision for hauliers as this was raised previously. CB confirmed that no specific area had been allocated for hauliers use, however NAC would review the layout and see if this could be accommodated. CB confirmed that the 24hr toilet provision was being considered and was part of the design review process being taken forward.
- BC queried the communication of the Public Consultation Outcome Report, with CC confirming that this will be discussed at the Communications sub group meeting, however recognised the importance of sharing this with the communities timeously.
RC confirmed that the design of the PAS was complete and CMAL was providing drawings etc to PPG as part of the tender process.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
RC confirmed that the fabrication of the tank was on-going and that a useful meeting with PPG had been undertaken. The delivery period remains around 12 months with storage prior to installation..
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Supply
Continues to be progressed by CalMac
Service Continuity Planning
LMcE confirmed that work continued on the development of the temporary timetables for Troon and that these are expected to be finalised in the coming weeks and will be submitted to TS. A Public Consultation would then follow allowing CalMac to collate feedback from communities. CalMac will use all mediums to promote the consultation, and asked AFC to assist with the survey’s on Arran. The Consultation is expected to be completed in Summer 2022 with confirmation of timetables thereafter.
- JG queried the timings of this work and to prioritise this. Requested confirmation from TS and CalMac and that AFC be sighted in advance of the public consultation happening.
- BC stated that this was an important issue to the community regarding the level of service therefore sight of the timetables was requested urgently.
LMcI confirmed that the tender stage was progressing and that a pre-tender exercise was nearing completion with a report expected by 30 June 2022. As stated previously PPG will consider its position and continue its dialogue and engagement with TS.
KH advised that there was no change to the vessel delivery dates, currently March to May 2023. There had been recent changes to the management team at Ferguson and a CMAL engineer had been seconded into Fergusons.
- BC asked about the deployment date to the route and whether this was part of the delivery date? KH confirmed that the March to May 2023 dates was service only and not deployment. There were vessel sea trials and checks to be carried out and MCA approval prior to the vessel being deployed to the route.
- IT asked about crew recruitment and how CalMac were progressing this due to shortages of candidates? LMcE confirmed that the Master and Chief Engineer had been recruited and were at Fergusons now. With other roles to follow noting that the recruitment process would be challenging however a programme was in place to deliver this. LMcE also stated that there is an 8 week period of crew familiarisation to be undertaken and that provides the crew with the knowledge they require to operate the vessel.
- JG asked about P&O crew being available and whether CalMac did so? LMcE advised that the P&O position did not affect the availability of staff in the UK.
- JG stated that recruitment of crew was of major importance so that the new vessel can operate effectively on the route, therefore offered support to CalMac from the Employability Team should it be needed. LMcE accepted the Minister’s offer as well as NAC’s offer to also support CalMac in this process.
Troon Infrastructure Project - Update
JG stated that she was aware that the Troon project was progressing well and that the Marine works were completed 31 March 2022. JG asked CC to provide any further updates. CC at this point asked GMcG to provide an update on the temporary terminal building.
GMcG confirmed that the temporary terminal building was being fabricated noting that part of the build will be done off site to ensure delivery by October on site. It was noted that the demand for modular buildings had impacted slightly on programme. GMcG stated that once the building was on site this would be handed over to CalMac to get ready for services.
- BC asked whether any passenger facilities would be provided at Troon now rather than waiting months, as recent service outages and coming into the Winter period with disruption expected makes utilising Troon instead of Gourock the most logical option. LMcE stated that operating to Troon on a diversion and unplanned basis would not afford passenger facilities being available at present. CW stated that this could be looked into by TS and CalMac.
- IT asked about the move to Troon and when this would happen? CW stated that the trigger would be the deployment of the Glen Sannox or the commencement of works at Ardrossan which appear to be aligned. LMcI confirmed that the Ardrossan works could start by Spring 2023 following completion of the tender stage.
- IT re-iterated that there were concerns regarding the level of services during the move to Troon for the Arran economy and asked about getting additional crew? LMcE stated that the timetable work currently being carried out is considering all options, permutations which includes operating 2 crews as well as demand, capacity and service levels.
- JG stated that she was concerned about a reduction in services when operating from Troon. CW stated that the final decision on timetables would take account of cost and affordability issues.
Progress outstanding Actions from Task Force of 23 February 2022.
- Legal/Commercial Agreements – PPG and TS continue to engage on this matter.
- CalMac – Service Continuity Public Consultation. This is currently being scheduled for August 2022; on-line survey and drop in events
- Marine Works – Technical Query. This will be progressed as part of the tender design stage by PPG and project partners.
Progress Actions from today’s Task Force – 28 June 2022.
Any other business
- BC stated that reliable access to Ardrossan was required for the service to operate taking account of berth conditions and weather disruption which has had a negative impact on services. With the recent issues of the sink-hole, and fenders AFC asked PPG what they could do to make things better? LMcI stated that PPG would return to AFC on the fender issue. In reference to the sink-hole at the Winton Pier this is being repaired and PPG’s asset team continue to carry out regular repairs and maintenance to ensure the port is fit for purpose.
- IT raised the issue of the disruption to ferry services on 27th and this morning 28th – with a vessel sailing with no passengers. IT/AFC are of the opinion that they are often acting as middle-men to get partner organisations to work together to resolve issue affecting the service which is not acceptable. CalMac confirmed that they would respond to AFC on this issue.
- Meeting to be set up with CalMac, TS, PPG and IOAFC regarding service reliability, and for PPG to update all relevant parties on sink-hole and fender works.
Date of next meeting
Date of next meeting to be scheduled in December 2022 and/or if earlier if deemed necessary.