A look back to 2022

Kevin Hobbs, CEO

As another year draws to a close, we share islanders’ frustration that the dual fuel ferries being built at Ferguson Marine have not yet been completed; however, they are progressing toward completion. We are also encouraged that many of CMAL’s other projects across the network have made great progress. 

This Summer, we welcomed the MV Loch Frisa to the fleet, serving the Oban – Craignure route. Leith-based Dales Marine Services Ltd were contracted to modify the vessel which we purchased from Norway, to bring her in line with UK marine regulations and getting her ready for the Scottish seas. MV Loch Frisa was officially named by former Argyll and Bute councillor Mary-Jean Devon at a naming ceremony in Craignure in June. 

Work on the two new vessels for Islay has also taken great strides. The preferred bidder, Cemre Marin Endustri shipyard in Turkey, was announced in March, and work is progressing well. The steel-cutting ceremony for the first vessel took place in October and is on track for delivery in late 2024. The second vessel is due in early 2025.  Together they will provide a combined 40% increase in vehicle and freight capacity on the Islay route. 

In November, we issued a tender for another two new vessels, this time for the Little Minch. The Scottish Government has prioritised additional funding, with an extra £115 million enabling us to accelerate our plans for strengthening the resilience of the fleet. We plan to appoint the successful shipyard in early 2023 and will share updates in the media and on our website.   

As well as investing in vessels this year, our work on port infrastructure has been progressing well. We are nearing the end of the multi-million-pound upgrade at Tarbert (Harris). Phase one of the project to install a new pier and increase the marshalling area was completed in March and won the 2022 Scottish Civil Engineering Marine Infrastructure Award just last month. CalMac is currently carrying out familiarisation training in the new terminal building, which is set to open in early January. 

In Arran, we are looking forward to Arran Pharmacy Ltd converting the old terminal building into a pharmacy, which will bring a host of benefits to the community. It will include a wider range of products and medicines, as well as enhanced pharmaceutical services to islanders and visitors.   

While some of our public engagement meetings were confined to Teams at the start of the year due to Covid restrictions, we have also been able to get back into communities to update on our ongoing projects. From the new vessel for Mallaig-Lochboisdale, to the port enabling works for the new Islay vessels, we have been able to provide face to face project updates and gain valuable feedback and insight from those who use the lifeline services.   

We are looking forward to another busy year in 2023, so be sure to follow our updates on the website and Twitter. If you want to know more, or if you have any questions or comments, please do contact us, we would love to hear what you think.