It’s been confirmed that funding will be made available to Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) to assist the progression of initial infrastructure improvements at Port Ellen and enable the new Islay ferry to be accommodated at Kennacraig, after the Scottish Parliament passed the Government’s 2010 Budget Bill.

Business cases for infrastructure improvements to Port Ellen and Kennacraig were presented to The Scottish Government in March 2009 with a variety of options recommended as minimum and maximum work plans.

£3.4M is now being made available for CMAL to rebuild the pier and carry out fendering works at Port Ellen.

CMAL is already carrying out a refurbishment of the existing linkspan at Port Ellen, which began on February 15th, comprising of steelwork repairs, raising the level of the linkspan, as well as an extensive mechanical overhaul and lifting rope replacement along with painting.

Construction of a new quay wall at Port Ellen, used by the local fishing fleet, was successfully completed on time and within budget in January 2010, and is already in full use.

Meanwhile approximately £1.5M will be set aside for the removal of a sunken barge at the entrance to Kennacraig Harbour, work which is expected to get underway this summer.

As a result of a berthing incident with the Isle of Arran earlier this month, substantial damage occurred to the port infrastructure at Kennacraig. CMAL and CalMac Ferries Ltd (CFL) have worked together in partnership to effect immediate repairs.

Subject to this and some minor modifications, the new £24.5M Islay ferry, MV Finlaggan, will be able to use the existing pier at Kennacraig when she comes into service next Spring and will serve Port Askaig. One of the existing vessels will continue to serve Port Ellen.

The CMAL ports and harbours team with CalMac Ferries Ltd (CFL) are planning to hold public meetings in Port Ellen week commencing 5th April to update local people and businesses on their plans for the future. More details and confirmation of the dates of these meetings will be published shortly.

Lorna Spencer, Director of Harbours and Piers, said:” In recent months, detailed design work and ground investigations have continued on our plans for infrastructure improvements at Port Ellen and Kennacraig so these projects could be launched quickly should funding become available. This work will prove of value to CMAL should further funding become available in the future.”

CMAL Chief Executive, Guy Platten, said:”Our role at CMAL is to provide, safeguard and develop the infrastructure vital for lifeline ferry services therefore we must always be looking to the long-term future, and getting the most out of any expenditure on infrastructure. The full redevelopment of Port Ellen and Kennacraig will remain key priorities for CMAL and will be taken forward when the necessary funds become available.”

Stewart Stevenson, Transport Minister, said:“This considerable investment will ensure services to Port Ellen are safeguarded at a time of great economic pressure when difficult spending decisions are having to be made. The Scottish Government is demonstrating its commitment to the people of Islay by providing these funds which, supported by investments by CMAL, will allow the new £24.5M Islay ferry to use the existing pier at Kennacraig when she comes into service and maintain lifeline services to Islay's two ports."

Notes to Editors

  • The full redevelopment of Port Ellen and Kennacraig was outlined in the business cases at a cost of £16M and £17.8M respectively and cannot be undertaken at this time due to the current financial climate and pressure on public funds.
  • Plans to rebuild the pier at Port Ellen and carry out fendering works during the next financial year (2010-2011) are estimated at £3.4M. Recent repairs to the quay wall were carried out at a cost of £300,000 and linkspan refurbishment works are currently underway at a cost of £180,000.
  • The cost to remove the sunken barge at the entrance to Kennacraig Harbour is estimated at £1.5M.
  • The new Islay ferry, MV Finlaggan, will be accommodated at Kennacraig and will serve Port Askaig.
  • Argyll and Bute Council, the owners of Port Askaig, have advised that some modifications will be made at Port Askaig this summer to enable the new ferry to be accommodated here when she comes into service next Spring.
  • CMAL own property at piers and harbours at more than 24 locations throughout Scotland and are embarking on a programme of investment and improvements which will create better facilities.
  • In addition to its pier and harbour facilities CMAL owns 31 ferries which are leased to CalMac Ferries Ltd and Cowal Ferries Ltd.
  • CMAL is a publicly owned company with Scottish Ministers as the sole shareholder.

For further information please contact CMAL on 01475-749920 or email info@cmassets.co.uk