Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

CalMac Unveils West Coast Ferry Plans for "New Era"

30th August 2016

#NewEra - Scottish transport operator, CalMac has gone public for the first time with ambitious plans to transform west coast ferry services following formal granting of its new contract for the next eight years. 

As reported on Afloat, CalMac was announced as the successful bidder for the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) tender in May, signed the contract with Transport Scotland on August 22 after finalisation of legal agreements. The contract begins on 1 October, 2016 and will run until 2024. 

Scottish Ministers and Transport Scotland place great value on the contribution that the Clyde and Hebrides Service can make to the social, cultural and economic vitality of Scotland, and in particular in the Island and Coastal communities.

Managing Director, Martin Dorchester, said that CalMac's winning bid was rooted in ambitious plans to drive improvements which will transform the experience of ferry travellers, exemplify customer focus, and show the company's determination to make a positive difference to the communities.

The planned innovations, most of which will be put in place in the first two years of the contract, include:

  • Maximise opportunities for local companies, supported businesses (where 30% of staff are disabled or disadvantaged) and social enterprises, to tender for supply contracts. CalMac has set a target of sourcing 80% of fresh produce from within its network area.

  • Appoint a Director of Community and Stakeholder Engagement and create a Communities Board to involve communities in strategic matters that affect them.

  • An innovative approach to the introduction of smart and integrated ticketing offering multi-modal ticketing to provide improved choice and convenience for passengers.

  • Continued investment in Officer Cadets and rating apprenticeships and partnering with local maritime training organisations such as University of the Highlands and Islands and City of Glasgow College to further to develop our qualified and skilled workforce, and develop a strong maritime training economy.

  • Work in partnership with shipyards to plan and schedule long-term maintenance activities to minimise reactive maintenance, improving vessel reliability for customers.

  • Investing £6m in on-board and port and passenger area improvements including consistent signage, a standard look and feel to customer sitting and waiting areas, upgraded restaurant counters and retail outlets, piloting an 'at seat' drinks trolley service, and digital information screens, all aimed at improving customer accessibility and experience.

  • Daily demand forecasting combined with the introduction of variable terms and conditions to discourage late cancellations and no shows.  This will lead to improved accessibility for customers, better capacity utilisation and greater certainty of travel.

  • Appoint a Transport Integration Manager to work with other providers on timetable planning, disruption management, and the displaying of digital travel information at ports and vessels to improve public transport connectivity and quality of customer information.

  • Maintaining membership of Marine Scotland, along with support for the 'blue economy.' This includes helping to monitor marine animals and working with marine conservation bodies, all of which supports economic sustainability.

 

 

 

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

Email The Author

Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating