Businesses facing ‘reputational damage’ due to ongoing freight capacity problem

Isles businesses are suffering reputational damage because of freight capacity shortages, an MSP has warned.

Beatrice Wishart says the ongoing saga is leaving businesses unable to meet their obligations through no fault of their own.

And she has stressed that there can be no economic growth without proper infrastructure.

The problems surrounding freight capacity have been ongoing for several years, and the issue is not helped by inevitable weather-related disruption, such as that being seen this weekend.

Her comments come after she questioned the First Minister on limited capacity to the Northern Isles.

Beatrice Wishart Photo: Liberal Democrats.

She has already written to the Transport Minister to highlight concerns about autumn capacity on the Northern Isles routes following CalMac’s charter of M/V Arrow.

As well as letters to the Scottish government, Ms Wishart raised it again with the Islands Minister in September.

“Ferry freight capacity issues are long running, completely foreseeable and avoidable,” she said.

“This is the third member of the Scottish Cabinet I have asked to look into this.

“No business would like their reputation damaged by something that was outwith their control. Yet some businesses in Shetland are suffering through this reality.

“The Scottish government must tackle this to ensure that freight capacity demands are met and economic growth isn’t stifled.”

Earlier this year Transport Scotland said that, while there were “pinch points”, there was spare capacity on the freight service for Orkney and Shetland.

It encouraged hauliers to “engage with Serco NorthLink” to “fully utilise” the available capacity.

It also said it was “continually scouring” the market for suitable second hand tonnage.


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