A massive investment in Stornoway's port is going ahead, bringing hopes of 100s of jobs.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan hailed the announcement today (Wednesday December 9) that funding for the “transformational” Stornoway Deep Water Terminal project has been secured.

Earlier today, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing confirmed £49 million worth of investment from a number of partners to strengthen transport links and support a range of diverse industries in the Western Isles.

The project includes a facility for berthing for cruise ships up to 350 metres long, a new deep water berth to cater for larger cargo vessels, and a freight ferry berth; berthing and unloading facilities for renewable energy components; and also development land for a range of uses such as industrial processes and decommissioning.

A deep-water port is a crucial part of Stornoway Port Authority’s ambitious 20-year masterplan and more than 200 jobs will be created through the development of the terminal.

Alasdair Allan said: “This is a project that will create economic growth for the islands for years to come and I am delighted with today’s announcement of significant investment.

“I first met with the Cabinet Secretary about the Port Authority’s plans back in 2017, and he - and the Scottish Government - quickly appreciated how important these proposals could be.

“I would like to pay tribute to the tremendous amount of work the Port Authority have put into this development, as well as the work of other partners such as HIE, the Comhairle and the Scottish Government.

“This project will mean that Stornoway is well-placed to take advantage of a diverse range of economic opportunities and bring in much-needed jobs. I look forward to seeing the terminal take shape over the course of next year.”

Mr Ewing said: “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 the transition to net zero through the creation of a stronger, more resilient, sustainable economy.”

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Leader, Councillor Roddie Mackay said: “This investment is the first step in a comprehensive vision for the redevelopment of Stornoway  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 Terminal 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 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.”

Stornoway Port Authority chairman Murdo Murray said: “This significant investment is tremendous news for Stornoway, the Outer Hebrides and Scotland.

“We believe it will bring massive new revenue streams to the Port, create new employment in the area for decades to come, and go a long way to helping Scotland reach its net zero carbon emissions target by 2045.

“This investment is the culmination of years of work on this project and we could not have done it without the backing of the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Crown Estate Scotland and the Stornoway Trust.

“I would like to thank everyone on behalf of Stornoway Port Authority for their hard work and commitment to the project.” 

Fred SILVER