INITIAL work is set to begin on the build of a deep water terminal in Stornoway, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has announced.
The project will be funded through £37.5m from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, £10 million from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and £1.5 million from the Stornoway Port Authority.
The development will include a facility for berthing cruise ships up to 360 metres long, a new deep water berth to cater for larger cargo vessels, a freight ferry berth, and development land for a range of uses such as industrial processes and decommissioning. Hie said that some 200 jobs will come alongside the project.
The Scottish Government’s rural economy secretary, Fergus Ewing, commented, “We want our Island communities to thrive and this investment to create a deep water terminal at Stornoway will provide infrastructure to support a range of diverse industries and economic activities, ranging from cruises, to energy, to aquaculture and ferries, which will be a tremendous benefit to the Western Isles.
“This transformational project, which will put Stornoway in pole position to take advantage of emerging technologies such as hydrogen, is the culmination of dedicated partnership working between local partners, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Scottish Government to create a development of real value to communities.
“This is a great example of the blue economy in action, as it is creating infrastructure in our islands which can benefit a range of marine industries and coastal communities, helping Scotland build back better from the pandemic and make a just transition to net zero through the creation of a stronger, more resilient, sustainable economy.”
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar leader, Councillor Roddie Mackay, added, “This investment is the first step in a comprehensive vision for the redevelopment of Stornoway Port and the ancillary facilities around the Port. The project will create new marine-related opportunities, not only for Stornoway, but the whole of the Outer Hebrides. We believe this investment will make Stornoway one of the premier ports in the west of Scotland and will create significant new economic value for the overall Scottish economy.
“Our ambition is that the Deep Water Port will be a driver and catalyst for a series of new activities such as the creation of a hydrogen-driven energy hub and as a future base for renewable energy deployments west of the Hebrides. The Comhairle’s significant investment to Stornoway Port Authority will not only secure the present development project but will also facilitate a route to further value-added development opportunity”.
Alistair Dodds, chair of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said, “We have worked closely with SPA to support their masterplan, which we believe will bring about transformational change for the Outer Hebrides.
“The benefits of this development will be far reaching. It will strengthen transport links between the islands and the mainland. It will significantly enhance the islands’ potential in terms of the developing marine economy, which includes renewable energy, oil and gas decommissioning and tourism, and it will create many valuable local jobs.
“This in turn will help attract more people and business to the islands, stimulate wider economic activity and strengthen community resilience.
“We very much welcome these plans by the Stornoway Port Authority and look forward to continuing to work with them as they implement the masterplan.”