Port authority steering a new future course

Murdo Murray and Margaret Ann Macleod.

Port authority steering a new future course

Stornoway Port Authority is preparing to move into a new era as it seeks to push forward with a series of major developments in line with its 20-year masterplan.

The Authority has set out its ambitious proposals, including the creation of a deep-water port, which will bring major economic benefits to the island.

This will help accelerate growth in the cruise business, by providing a berth for larger ships, as well as providing improved berthing and servicing for oil and renewables projects and a new linkspan/freight ferry berth.

As these various important projects advance, the SPA will appoint new board members and personnel with appropriate skills and expertise to guide future development.

Margaret Ann Macleod has been confirmed as a full board member for a three-year term, having previously been co-opted for a year. Presently brand development director for Harris Tweed Hebrides, her business background includes international sales and rural economic development.

Margaret Ann said: “I am delighted to become a full member of the Board at this crucial and exciting time for the Port Authority and the wider community”.

“Our bold ambitions can bring enormous benefits to the island and I am determined to help bring the Masterplan vision to fruition.”

Board chairman, Murdo Murray, added: “Margaret Ann is well known and highly respected in the business community and is a significant addition to the Board.”

“Having already served as a co-opted member, we know how important her contribution will be to our future plans and we look forward to having her valuable input as a full board member.” 

Assisting the chief executive, Alex MacLeod, with the development of the masterplan will be Brenda Jones, who has recently joined the Authority as developments manager.

This new post, partly funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, is specifically aimed at driving forward the major Masterplan proposals.

Brenda, a chartered project management surveyor, will use her experience on many large construction projects, which included the consultant project manager role on the recent redevelopment of Lews Castle in Stornoway, to guide future projects.

SPA Chief Executive, Alex MacLeod, said: “We are moving into a period of significant change for Stornoway and the Authority as these crucial developments take shape.

“As the port changes, so we must adapt at all levels to ensure each project is put in place to maximise the potential for the people who live and work here”.

“Margaret Ann’s knowledge and business acumen will also be invaluable as we take these important steps forward for the community”.

“Brenda has a wealth of experience in bringing forward large-scale programmes and her expertise will be of enormous benefit in the coming months and years.

“She will work with our new Harbourmaster/Operations Manager to ensure we get the right designs and adopt the right procedures for the multi-functional deep water port”. 

“We expect further changes to the Board and operations as these projects come on stream and we adapt to a changing operating environment.”

Last month tests began to help pave the way for the creation of the deep-water port at Stornoway.

A series of 24 boreholes in the seabed will help determine the depths, materials and locations to be dredged, as well as data required to design the reclamation and berthing structures adjacent to Arnish and the marina at Newton basin.

It is estimated the cruise sector alone could generate significant additional income for the islands by creating berthing facilities for larger vessels that cannot currently berth alongside.