The 'Scotsman' newspaper has reported that: 'Extra ferry sailings between Islay and the mainland are to be introduced as a result of a record demand for whisky across the globe. 'Caledonian MacBrayne hopes to start extra services later this year to accommodate the increasing number of lorries carrying barrels of world-famous single malts such as Laphroaig and Bowmore.
During the winter, the reduced frequency sailings struggle to cope with demand from the island’s eight main distilleries for both importing supplies and exporting whisky. This has caused major problems for whisky firms seeking to step up production to feed record export sales, led by growing markets in countries such as China and Brazil. Lorries have to compete for deck space with cars, and this in turn has had an impact on islanders travelling to and from the mainland and tourists attempting to visit the island.' The report goes on to say: 'The squeeze follows oil supply problems to the island which hit production earlier this year. However, distillers hope that dredging by Argyll and Bute Council will allow tankers to use a silted-up pier and prevent further shortages this winter.
The Scotch Whisky Association reported in April that whisky exports last year reached a new high of £2.5 billion. Scotland’s national drink now accounts for one quarter of all British food and drink leaving the country. Contacted by the Ileach for clarification, a CalMac spokesperson said: ' The position is that the CalMac board has to approve the final detail which we have discussed with the (Islay whisky) group. The Executive in Edinburgh then has to give the go ahead but they have been involved in the planning already. The CalMac board meets on the 25th of July. We will make a formal announcement as soon as possible'.
This story was published with kind permission from The Ileach - Community Newspaper of the year.