Contract awarded for piers upgrade for new Islay ferries

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A £1.5 million contract for upgrading four CalMac piers at Port Ellen and Port Askaig in Islay, Kennacraig and Colonsay has been awarded to UK engineering firm Mott MacDonald.

The contract, awarded by Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), supports the detailed design of pier infrastructure upgrade works.

Mott MacDonald, working closely with CMAL’s harbours engineers and project managers, will secure and manage the required planning consents and licences, support stakeholder and community engagement, conduct and commission site surveys and investigations, create detailed design of works required at all four sites, and help prepare tender documents to appoint construction contractors.

The design and planning stage is expected to last around a year, with construction estimated to begin in 2023.

Nasir Uddin, senior civil engineer at CMAL, said: ‘A shipyard will be appointed next year to build the two new vessels for Islay and Jura and, in preparation for their arrival, we have identified that the ports where they will operate will benefit from investment to upgrade infrastructure and facilities.’

The project is one of three CMAL projects planned for Port Ellen. The other two projects will deliver improvements to traffic management arrangements, scheduled to get under way in 2022, and increase space with a bigger vehicle marshalling area, new terminal building and improvements to passenger access to and from vessels.

CMAL has a significant plan of vessel and harbour investment underway, backed by a £580 million commitment from the Scottish Government for an initial five-year period from 2021 to 2026. Plans will deliver 21 new vessels for the fleet and multi-million-pound upgrade of harbour infrastructure over the next 10 years. Further multi-million-pound investment will be needed to fund plans from 2026 onwards.