Northwards has welcomed an announcement by Transport Scotland on the planned replacement of freight vessels with new purpose-built boats.
The proposed 140-metre replacements for Hildasay and Helliar can accommodate an extra row of trucks on both decks, with capacity for 86 instead of 68 trailer units.
Northwards commercial director Neil Leslie says that is “very welcome news”.
“This is a step forward not only for the haulage industry but for the Northern Isles as a whole,” he said.
“Orkney and Shetland currently have a serious problem in terms of freight capacity, which in turn affects many industries throughout these islands.
“If the freight ships can be replaced with those proposed yesterday, this will, in the long term, provide the capacity and service that we really need.
“In the meantime, we look to Transport Scotland for an interim solution, in the form of an additional freight vessel, to solve the current issue.”