Port Ellen Pier on Islay Officially Opened

After extensive redevelopment, Port Ellen pier on Islay was officially opened by CMAL on Thursday 30th August. Work on the pier was successfully completed in June, and reopened to traffic on the 1st July 2012. The new pier boasts two substantial berths for the regular ferry service provided by MV Finlaggan and MV Hebridean Isles, and can also accommodate the grain vessel bringing in barley for Islay whisky industry. For the first time the pier can now be accessed by vehicles and this will allow for the unloading of other bulk carrier vessels when required. The works have also upgraded the ferry terminal water, lighting and sewage systems and have increased the size of the marshalling area.

Transport Minister, Keith Brown said: “I'm delighted at the re-opening of Port Ellen pier which has benefitted from Scottish Government funding of nearly £2m towards the £5.5m pier upgrade. Both this and the port upgrade at Kennacraig, which has received an extra £4m of government funding for the next phase of works, will substantially improve accessibility and flexibility for ferry users between Islay and the mainland. “Crucially, freight traffic will now also have the facilities they need at Port Ellen to provide increased access to their markets, essential for stimulating economic growth in the area. “This investment in our ports infrastructure builds on recent Scottish Government investment of over £60m for new ferries to operate across the Clyde and Hebrides, underlining our commitment to deliver improved ferry services and infrastructure fit for the 21st century.” Continue reading...

Closed to ferry traffic since the end of March 2011, the pier remained open to fishing and leisure vessels on the fish quay and the inner harbour and was able to accommodate the grain vessel for much of the construction period. CMAL recognised the importance of maintaining this capability during the rebuild, which added to the complexities of the project.

The project was undertaken by contractors McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd, with professional engineering services provided by Halcrow Group Ltd. Guy Platten, chief executive of CMAL commented: “Despite technical challenges and severe weather conditions project team members including McLaughlin & Harvey and Halcrow Group have done a great job of reconstructing Port Ellen pier. “We’re delighted to have it back open and our official opening was all about thanking the community for their patience and understanding. It was a great day with beautiful weather and we were lucky enough to have Port Ellen Primary School children singing at the event. I want to thank everyone who came along to celebrate.”

Grenville Johnston, chairman of CMAL officially declared the port open for business and George Taylor from David MacBrayne also spoke, reflecting on his family connection with Port Ellen. Invited guests attended a reception afterwards on board the MV Finlaggan.

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