Plans are being developed by the Stornoway Port Authority, CalMac and Comhairle nan
Eilean Siar to reduce congestion on Shell Street at the entrance to Stornoway ferry
The introduction of the MV Loch Seaforth ferry on the route has led to an increase
in traffic around the ferry terminal.
Along with later arriving vehicles, this has seen particular traffic issues during
the early morning and lunchtime check-in period.
Uisdean Robertson, chairman of the Comhairle’s transportation committee, said: “We
are, of course, very pleased that the reduction in fares and the provision of additional
capacity on the route mean that more people want to travel to, from and within the
“However, it is apparent that this additional traffic has created a number of consequences
in ports such as Stornoway and, in this case, we are keen to work with CalMac and
the port authority to ensure that any congestion or disruption to road traffic on
the public highway is kept to an absolute minimum.
“It is clear that there is a growing incidence of traffic backing up onto Shell Street
and causing congestion on Newton Street and even as far as the junction with James
The council is currently reviewing road-markings and signage on Shell Street - particularly
for roundabout at the junction with the entrance to the ferry terminal
CalMac and the harbour board are also reviewing their respective operational management
and marshalling arrangements to provide a more efficient check-in process.
Mr Robertson said: “We have agreed that a number of interim measures will continue
to be put in place by CalMac and would reiterate their request that the travelling
public give themselves more time prior to the check-in deadline for the rest of this
“In the longer term, we are hopeful that, following the implementation of the necessary
improvements prior to next summer, there should be little likelihood of a repeat
of the congestion seen over the last couple of years and that people continue to
see the Outer Hebrides as an attractive and welcoming place to visit.”
Finlay MacRae, CalMac’s area operations manager, said: “There are a number of factors
which are contributing to the congestion on Shell Street.
“Firstly, we are seeing a large number of vehicles arriving to check in at the port
in a relatively short period of time immediately prior to the deadline.
“This leads to a build-up of traffic in the 10-15 minute period prior to the check-in
close and, whilst we would not wish to have to consider extending the check-in period,
we would ask passengers to give themselves a bit more time prior to that deadline
and have all travel documentation to hand at check-in.”
“The efficient loading of the car-deck is particularly important when there are high
levels of traffic on the vessel and the large range of vehicles in terms of weight
and size now travelling on the route presents us with particular challenges in terms
of marshalling and loading whilst adhering to the route timetable.
“We have allocated additional staffing to the check-in arrangements during the summer
months but recognise that improvements could also be made in terms of our use of
better technology as part of the booking, ticketing and check-in processes. We are
working with our suppliers to develop and implement the necessary changes and are
currently seeking to have improved processes and equipment in place for early in
2018 and certainly in advance of the peak period, which appears to be starting earlier
The most effective solution to address the congestion on Shell Street will also include
changes and improvements to the marshalling infrastructure and Stornoway Port Authority,
has already commenced investigations into alternative options.
Alex Macleod, the port authority’s chief executive, said: “Stornoway Port Authority
recognise that there is a need for further improvements to the Stornoway Ferry terminal
marshalling and parking arrangements, to reduce congestion on the public road and
within the ferry terminal area.
“The port authority will work with CalMac and the Comhairle to reduce the likelihood
of congestion and disruption on Shell Street.”
Plan to tackle traffic congestion at Stornoway ferry terminal