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Scottish Government must act to help island hauliers

  • 01 July 2013
  • By Chris Druce

The Scottish Government must stop making excuses and act now to protect island hauliers or risk the fragile Outer Hebrides economy collapsing, according to Barratlantic MD Donald Maclean.

Barratlantic runs nine refrigerated vehicles transporting fresh and frozen fish from its factory on Barra to customers in Glasgow, via Oban.

Like others on the islands, it is reliant on ferries to cross the Atlantic, but following the Scottish Government’s decision to remove the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) in April 2012, ferry prices have soared.

“We have been hit hard and are no longer on a level playing field with suppliers on the mainland,” Maclean said.

The removal of the RET sent ferry prices from about £700 a crossing back to their previous level of about £1,100, something Maclean and fellow firms on the islands can’t pass on to customers.

“The Scottish Government keeps passing the buck [to London]. Ferry fares are my biggest concern, ahead of fuel where we at least have a fuel surcharge in place.

“A lot of businesses are feeling the pinch and there’s a lot less coming in and going out now,” he said. “It’s hit us hard and it [the price rises] has to stop.”


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