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Brand New Ferry Terminal Opens On Arran, Firth of Clyde

23rd March 2018
The brand new ferry terminal in Brodick, Arran on the Firth of Clyde, opened to passengers this week when Calmac's ferry, Caledonian Isles berthed at the upgraded facility. The short 55-minute crossing linking Ardrossan on the mainland is kept busy in the summer with the relative proximity of the 'central belt' between Glasgow and Edinburgh. The brand new ferry terminal in Brodick, Arran on the Firth of Clyde, opened to passengers this week when Calmac's ferry, Caledonian Isles berthed at the upgraded facility. The short 55-minute crossing linking Ardrossan on the mainland is kept busy in the summer with the relative proximity of the 'central belt' between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Photo: CMAL

#FerryNews - The first passengers to use Scottish operator CalMac’s brand new ferry terminal on Isle of Arran, Firth of Clyde, became a reality on Tuesday with sailings operating to and from Ardrossan, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Ferry, Caledonian Isles made the inaugural berthing at the new terminal in Brodick, the island’s main town on the east coast. The terminal in Brodrick Bay is also a popular scenic anchorage for leisure craft that has included the schooner superyacht Eos. 

The new facility, Afloat adds also incorporates a pier berth-linkspan to cater also for a new dual-fuel ferry powered by liquefied natural gas (LPG) and marine-gas oil (MGO).

The newbuild currently under construction, Glen Sannox (first of a pair) assigned to Arran route, was expected to enter service last summer on the busy short-sea route that takes just under an hour. Due to complex engineering works at the Fergusan Marine Engineering Ltd (FMEL), Port Glasgow, the new 102m ferry has been rescheduled with a debut expected in the second half of 2018.

The ferry terminal project as previously reported in 2016 (see photo) is Arran’s main ferryport and was completed by Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL). The terminal which is an extensive upgrade of the facilities is to be officially opened with details to be released within weeks.

The other island terminal is at Lochranza from where the shorter ferry routes linking Claonaig and Tarbart albeit in the more remote Kintyre Peninsula as distinct to Ardrossan in Ayrshire.

CMAL adds the completion of the £30 million redevelopment project was unexpectedly delayed by an issue relating to the automated door closure on the passenger access system (PAS). The project was substantially complete in summer last year, but the PAS failed to receive its CE mark certification and could not be used. The issue has now been resolved and CE mark certification is in place.

The redevelopment project has completely transformed the terminal, delivering a new pier, an increased marshalling area through reclaimed land and a modern terminal building, with bus stances and parking facilities. It was CMAL’s single biggest port infrastructure construction project delivered.

In addition to CMAL’s role, the project was given support from Transport Scotland, North Ayrshire Council, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and Coastal Communities Fund.

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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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. 

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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!

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