-> 2008 -> Islay Lifeline Ferry Services

Friday, 20/Jun/2008

Islay Lifeline Ferry Services

Picture of a Calmac ferry in the evening light

Interesting read at the BBC about the importance of the ferry services for communities like Islay: When the boat comes in. While for the tourist and casual visitor to Islay the ferry might just be a nice and romantic (not to forget expensive) way to travel, for many businesses on the island it is a crucial tool to keep them running. At the same time it also a factor that can drive them out of business.

Paul Hathaway of Islay Ales explains what an important cost factor the ferry is:

Each bottle costs him 18 pence to buy. But to get it to Islay costs a further 5 pence, and to export the full bottle back to the mainland costs 5 pence again.

If that cost were to increase, e.g. through a fuel surcharge like many airlines charge these days, you can imagine what this means for a small business like his. While there were also other factors involved transport costs played a part in the recent problems at the Arran Brewery which has just been saved. Nevertheless the transport costs will remain an important consideration for anyone running or planning to run a business on Islay.

This topic also raises the question of the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) pilot, in which Islay isn't included for the time being. Not surprisingly many people aren't very happy with that...

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