November 2011 Meeting – Scotland’s Ferry Challenges


 The November meeting was held on 9 Nov and as you may have noticed from the change
to our Syllabus it was re-arranged at fairly short notice to “Scotland’s Ferry Challenges” and given
by Archie Robertson , CEO of David MacBrayne Ltd.
Opening his presentation with a few jocular remarks to the effect that there was no way
it would have any historical content as he was not about to “put his head into the lion’s mouth”  in
our presence! In a year which saw the carrying of 5.5m passengers and 1.2m vehicles (in no small
part due to the introduction of RET on some routes) he then took us through the many challenges
facing the company in the future.
In a well illustrated talk he looked at the many varied challenges (often conflicting) facing
them today ranging from the ever demanding one of fiscal management to some of the less
obvious ones such as the reduction of the carbon footprint of the ships. This last one is a potential
headache for the future as forthcoming EU legislation will see 2 differing target levels allowable
on the line roughly of the Greenwich Meridian with the lower level to the east and this could
seriously affect their ability to switch ships at the time of annual overhauls of the Northlink fleet.
In the overall question of carbon footprints of the ships, consideration has been given to
the relocation of ferry terminals,particularly at Kennacraig and Uig, to the entrance of the lochs thus
reducing journey times. This has of course to be weighed against the investment in new terminals
and the corresponding lengthening of road travel for their traffic; another factor being the age of the
fleet, which at the moment ranges from 1974 to 2011
All in all an intrigueing look at the multitude of factors which must be considered.
Below are a selection of images showing the main areas of operation.
Proposing the Vote of Thanks Angus Ross thanked him warmly for an enthralling and
thought provoking presentation on areas which we give little thought to.
Hrossey of Northlink
Isle of Lewis at Stornoway
Bute in Rothesay Bay


Angus Ross, Deryk Docherty,

our speaker Archie Robertson, CEO of David MacBrayne Ltd. and

Eric Schofield and Ian McCrorie