Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has urged Cal-Mac to charter a vessel, the Pentalina, to ease freight capacity on the Stornoway/Ullapool ferry route.
Cllr Uisdean Robertson, Chairman of Transportation and Infrastructure, said: “The expected problem of freight capacity on the Stornoway/Ullapool Route has materialised. The inclement weather has added to the problem and it appears that the weekend weather could further exacerbate this difficult situation.
“The Comhairle has made a number of suggestions to Cal-Mac on how to help make the dry-dock period of the Loch Seaforth less of a costly exercise to the community.
“The current situation is having a hugely detrimental impact on the local economy. We are sitting at the moment with a backlog of 30+ Artic loads including supermarket supplies, house kits etc. and some companies being told they can’t move certain loads until next week, as they are deemed a low priority by Cal-Mac. We now hear concerns that the aquaculture sector may be impacted as fish cannot be shipped. Hardly an ideal situation to be in in the current climate.
“The Pentalina is currently available following a period on charter to Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks in Orkney and will fit the link-spans at both Stornoway and Ullapool. Such a move would also be a positive opportunity to test the suitability of the Pentalina on west coast routes.”