Minister for Transport Fiona Hyslop was in Tarbert (Harris) yesterday to officially open the multi million-pound Tarbert ferry terminal project, led by Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL).
Ms. Hyslop MSP toured the facilities with Kevin Hobbs, chief executive of CMAL, before speaking at a short ceremony and unveiling a plaque at the front of the new terminal building.
The harbour redevelopment was completed earlier this year, and has provided passengers with a new pier, fendering system, and larger marshalling area. Work was completed while the lifeline ferry terminal remained operational, causing minimal disruption.
The project was completed in partnership with principal contractor RJ McLeod Ltd and ferry operator CalMac Ferries Ltd, with support from consultants Wallace Stone LLP and consenting and environmental specialists AFFRIC Ltd.
The development also saw local building firm Lewis Builders of Stornoway win the contract to construct the new terminal building which benefits from more seating for passengers.
Minister for Transport, Fiona Hyslop, said:
“I’m really pleased to have been able to visit and formally open these upgraded facilities at Tarbert Ferry Terminal.
“I can already see that the new terminal building is popular with passengers and staff, and the new marine infrastructure is bringing benefits through increased marshalling areas and enhanced berthing facilities that will allow larger vessels to dock.
“I’d like to thank all the partners involved in delivering this upgrade for their hard work and congratulate them on the project winning a Scottish Civil Engineering Marine Infrastructure Award.”
The harbour will be home to one of two vessels under construction at Cemre Marin Endustri A.S shipyard in Turkey. The two 94.8-metre vehicle and passenger ferries will replace the one vessel that currently covers the two Little Minch routes; Uig to Lochmaddy and Uig to Tarbert.
Kevin Hobbs, Chief Executive Officer of CMAL said:
“Welcoming the Transport Minister to Tarbert today is a great opportunity to showcase the transformation of the harbour.
“The terminal is now a much more comfortable place for passengers awaiting the ferry, and Tarbert Harbour is well prepared for the new ferry due to arrive in 2025.”
Robbie Drummond, Chief Executive for CalMac, said:
“We welcome the official opening of the redeveloped terminal in Tarbert. The project has greatly improved the experience for our passengers and crew alike, while creating a welcoming starting point for visitors who come to experience our islands.
CMAL is delivering significant vessel and harbour investment, backed by a £700 million commitment from the Scottish Government for a five-year period from 2021 to 2026. Plans are underway to deliver 21 new vessels for the fleet and multi-million-pound upgrade of harbour infrastructure over the next 10 years.
Photography by Sandie MacIver