This new feature takes a closer look at some of CMAL’s live projects. In this edition, we’re taking a deep dive into the timeline of the new vessels for Islay.

In April 2018, Scottish Ministers announced that Islay would be next in line for new vessels to replace the MV Hebridean Isles. The new ferries will be designed with a clear focus on freight as well as sufficient passenger accommodation to meet anticipated demand.

The Islay route is one of the busiest services for freight on the Clyde and Hebrides network, so the two new ferries will support the island’s vital economic activity.

Each 94.8-metre ferry will have capacity for up to 450 passengers and 100 cars, or 14 commercial vehicles, providing a combined 40% increase in vehicle and freight capacity on the Islay routes and improving the overall resilience of the wider fleet.

Carbon reduction has been one of the key factors in vessel design and the new ferries are expected to deliver a significant reduction in emissions.

Work is progressing well at Cemre on the two new vessels, with delivery expected towards the end of 2024 and early 2025. A summary of the key milestones can be found below:

CMAL Timeline from 2018 to 2025

The Islay vessels form part of a programme of investment by CMAL, funded through Scottish Government commitments to capital investment of around £700 million in ferry infrastructure and related services over the five years from 2021 to 2026. Wider plans will deliver other new small and major vessels for the fleet and upgrades of harbour infrastructure with future options are being considered through the emerging Islands Connectivity Plan.

← March Newsletter—Harbour spotlight