Hopes For Frequent Visits From “Ideally Fitted” Freight Vessel

Credits: Dorian Mongel/ Unsplash
  • Hauliers are hoping the successful visit of a “perfectly suited” freight vessel could become a regular occurrence to ease pressure on the NorthLink service.
  • Cargo ship Bore Bay docked at Holmsgarth on Saturday as part of a special sailing for freight operator Northwards.
  • This was a one-time arrangement to bring Viking Energy windfarm equipment, but business leaders want it to be used more often during peak periods.

Hopes for ‘perfectly suited’ freight vessel to become frequent visitor, states a Shetland Times.

She was unsuitable for the route

Bore Bay had been offered for use during the latest livestock season. But Transport Scotland allegedly “rejected her out of hand”, saying she was unsuitable for the route.

Following Saturday’s smooth operation, however, Northwards director Neil Lesley said he hoped to see similar sailings operating in the future.

“The vessel is perfectly suited to the Aberdeen – Lerwick route and would have eased the extreme pressure at peak times,” he added.

“We understand that the offer was rejected out of hand.

“Saturday’s operation has, we believe, demonstrated the technical viability of the vessel, its ability to dock at Holmsgarth, and its capacity to carry freight to and from Shetland, something for which the Shetland business community has been crying out for over many years.

“We very much hope that Transport Scotland will note the success of the operation and, in particular, reconsider its options ready for the next livestock season.”

Discussions about ferries at the net zero

ZetTrans chairwoman Moraig Lyall raised the issue in Edinburgh on 7th February, during discussions about ferries at the net zero, energy and transport committee.

Mrs Lyall said told the committee the Bore Bay was scheduled to visit, despite Transport Scotland having previously rejected her.

She said businesses had pushed for improvements to the freight service but were always “thwarted in their efforts”.

The special sailing was provided through Northwards’ parent company, Sea Cargo, and included connections with Esbjerg, Rotterdam and Bergen.

She arrived at noon on Saturday and the cargo was handled within four hours.

Bore Bay also provided additional freight capacity

As well as bringing windfarm equipment, Bore Bay also provided additional freight capacity to deliver goods between Shetland, Scandinavia and Europe.

Sea Cargo had offered Transport Scotland use of Bore Bay for a period last year to cover the the lack of capacity during the livestock shipping period.,

It is believed that the offer was rejected as the ship was deemed unsuitable for berthing in Aberdeen, despite not only Sea Cargo’s experience of using the port, but also confirmation from Aberdeen Harbour of its suitability.

Transport Scotland said in a statement: “We continue to work closely with CMAL and our ferry operators to help address the challenges facing our ferry network and we have always been clear that we would explore any appropriate charter or purchase of second hand tonnage if available.

“We would of course need to consider the suitability of a vessel for the routes and services which we operate and the terms and affordability of any such arrangement in full.“


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Source: Shell and Times


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