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Vessel replacement and deployment plans are published.
Plans outlining the future make-up of the ferry fleet serving the Clyde and Hebrides network, have been published.
The Vessel Replacement and Deployment Plan (VRDP) gives an overview how existing vessels could be moved throughout the network to deliver the Government's Ferries Plan commitments and better meet demand, looking at the procurement of new ships to eventually replace some of the older vessels in the fleet.
Minister for Transport and Islands Derek Mackay said:
"Ferry services play a crucial role for the communities of the Clyde and Hebrides, so we want to progressively renew and improve the fleet operating on these routes.
"This plan, agreed between the Scottish Government, CalMac Ferries Ltd and Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd, outlines the measures we aim to take collectively to meet increasing demands on these lifeline services, as well as looking at how and when to introduce new vessels in place of some of the older ones.
"It also looks at how we will manage increasing demand from the introduction of Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) across the network, which gives island residents and visitors access to significantly reduced fares.
"While many of these measures will be implemented over the longer term as funding becomes available, we have already started putting this plan into action with the commissioning by CMAL of the two new 100m vessels that are destined initially for the Ardrossan-Brodick and Uig Triangle routes.
"The Scottish Government is committed to supporting our island communities and this plan will help our aim of enabling continued and sustainable economic growth throughout the Clyde and Hebrides."
Transport Scotland published Scottish Ferry Services: Ferries Plan (2013-2022) in December 2012 as a basis for the shape of all of Scotland's ferry services until 2022 and it underpins the development of the VRDP as it applies to the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services network. The VRDP is intended to complement the Ferries Plan by also considering historical and projected customer demand and the on-going provision of capacity to meet that demand.
Tom Docherty, Chief Executive of CMAL, said:
"We work closely with our colleagues at Transport Scotland and CalMac Ferries Ltd to plan, design and build ferries that reflect the demands of island communities and recognise the unique geographies of the ports and harbours on the west coast of Scotland.
"This will make sure that our fleet now and in the future is as versatile as possible in the way vessels can be deployed and cascaded round the network."
Martin Dorchester, managing director of CalMac Ferries Ltd, said:
"In helping to identify the type and capacity of vessels that best suit the needs of our customers, we are able to assist our partners in building a future fleet that is fit for purpose.
"We are the frontline face of ferries on the West Coast, with knowledge built up over 160 years we can, with confidence, know what the real needs of the communities we serve are."
The Vessel Replacement and Deployment Plan is available to view on the Transport Scotland website here: http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/water/ferries/scottish-ferries-plan
CalMac Ferries Ltd (CFL) operate a fleet of 10 major vessels and 21 non-major vessels in the delivery of the CHFS passenger and vehicle services. These vessels are chartered from Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) by CFL and serve 49 ports across the west coast of Scotland with facilities ranging from unmanned slipways to ports with multiple linkspan berths. It is for the CHFS operator to decide how fleet vessels are deployed, whilst ensuring the delivery of the Ferries Plan.
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