Sturgeon faces CalMac ferry inquiry calls

THE direction in which the Scottish ferry fiasco appears to be heading has a significant bearing on business.

It affects whether visitors will choose to staycation in the Scottish islands or elsewhere now and in future.

Opting not to risk the journey referred to by some as the ferry lottery has an impact on businesses including those related to tourism, hospitality and retail.

There is separately a major impact on freight.

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The ferry businesses that should be the jewel in the crown of the Scottish nationalised stock by now are instead more like an albatross around First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s neck.

Transport Scotland has pressed forward with the expensive but necessary introduction of replacement vessel cover eventually but that hasn’t gone particularly smoothly and it seems like the network is always one breakdown away from collapse.

There shouldn’t have to be a row over getting the balance right on how to run ferries in a country made up of islands.

It shouldn’t be cars or campervans on a basic but also lifeline transport service. 
Among those who think a public inquiry is a good idea is Kenny MacAskill, the East Lothian MP and former SNP justice secretary, and Tory Highlands and Islands MSP Sir Edward Mountain, who earlier scrutinised the replacement CalMac ferries programme.

A public inquiry could of course provide hindsight benefits and on that basis it would seem useful in shaping the network for generations ahead, but it could also help focus attention as we go, in what would still be a live situation.

We are trying out new ways of powering our future with fuel sources like hydrogen, and Ferguson Marine has been at the forefront of this new technology along with a range of partners including Orkney’s European Centre for Marine Energy. A new well-funded green fleet is something we should already be nurturing nationally.

Cargo on the Ever Given freed from the Suez made it to Felixstowe, but businesses now can’t get it transported north because of a shortage of lorry drivers.

Post-Brexit Britain is a place where the Army is drafted in to deliver food amid this shortage of heavy goods vehicle drivers, a crisis position business editor Ian McConnell examines in his Called to Account column.

“Sadly, it seems senior UK Government ministers either genuinely do not recognise the urgency of the situation, in spite of warnings from the likes of the haulage industry and major supermarket group chiefs, or are too hidebound by the Johnson administration’s demoralising immigration clampdown ideology to solve the problem.”

Exporting and importing figures from the Office for National Stastics’ Business Insights and Conditions Survey, UK, out this week.

There has been an unexpected boom in Scottish hospitality property, and deputy business editor Scott Wright looks at whether it is a good time to buy and sell or buy.

The new majority owner of Ardgowan Distillery has brokered a deal with another of his drinks investments that will see the Inverkip site become home to an accompanying gin distillery, writes business correspondent Kristy Dorsey.

Joe Frankel cemented his standing as one of Scotland’s most successful entrepreneurs of recent years after a deal to sell the green company he founded to a US corporation, reports business correspondent Mark Williamson.

Office for National Stastics: The total volume of online job adverts fell by 5% in the week to 6 August 2021.

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992