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11 August 2010

Scotland’s first National Project on schedule

With just over one year to go to the opening of Scotland’s first National Project, Stewart Stevenson, minister for transport, infrastructure and climate change took the opportunity to visit the new Port of Loch Ryan for a progress report.

Stevenson met with senior officials from ferry company Stena Line for a briefing. The company are investing £200m in a new 28 acre site, two miles north of Cairnryan. The new facility will accommodate a port and terminal as well as new tonnage for the route to Northern Ireland, which is firmly on schedule to open in autumn 2011. The new port facility will provide a significant number of economic and infrastructure benefits as part of the UK’s third largest gateway.

The main contractor is McLaughlin & Harvey of Northern Ireland, with PT McWilliams the main subcontractor. Dredging is underway with the vessels Loch Foyle and Argus. Shore based operations are constructing rock bund jetties following ground condition survey work by Glovers.

Stevenson said,

"I am pleased to be able to see real progress on and off site. Stena Line’s £200m investment in the new port, with two new vessels on the route, is safeguarding 500 jobs in the operation of the port and creating around 900 new jobs in construction, a welcome boost to the local economy. The new port will allow fuel efficient crossings between Scotland and Northern Ireland and help enable the regeneration of Stranraer as a marine leisure area."

Dermot Cairns, Stena Line’s general manager for travel on the Irish Sea said

“We are right on schedule for the proposed opening of the new port facility in autumn 2011. We have faced a number of challenges to date but are confident that we have been able to address most of the major structural demands associated with developing a new port and are now bang on schedule to deliver Scotland’s first National Project on time and on budget."

The new port will provide Stena Line with the opportunity to offer its customers shorter journey times between Scotland and Northern Ireland helping to drive the level of tourism and freight business between both countries. In addition, the new facility will also provide environmental benefits in the form of reduced CO2 emissions from shorter sailings between Loch Ryan Port and Belfast Port.

In addition to developments at the new port location, work is also progressing on the road infrastructure to and from the new port, primarily passing improvements on both the A75 and A77. The road upgrade work has been schedule to finish ahead of the opening of the new port to optimise traffic management when the port is fully operational.
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