Information relating to Scottish ferries costs and upgrades: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004

Information requested

1. What is the current timetable for finishing upgrading Ardrossan Harbour and what are the current and estimated costs of the development, with a breakdown of these costs?

- Could you supply the cost/benefits analysis of the decision to upgrade the harbour?

2. All correspondence (including internal), minutes and briefing notes held by Transport Scotland about the creations of a Ferries Scotland organisation to replace Calmac and CMAL, between August 2023 and the date of this FOI.

3. When were Transport Scotland and it’s ministers informed about the latest Ferguson Marine ferry delay reported on September 29 and can you supply all correspondence, briefing notes and minutes about this topic between August 1 and date of this FOI

4. What is the estimated cost of the full loan of MV Alfred and breakdown of costs?

5. What is the estimated cost of supplying all islanders under 22 free ferry travel and breakdown of these costs?

6. Have Transport Scotland been approached about subsidising a new ferry route between Rosyth and Dunkirk, and if so, have they estimated how much it would cost?


1. We can confirm that a business case and cost review exercise for the Ardrossan Harbour Redevelopment project is currently being progressed and is expected to be reported in February 2024. This work is of vital importance in defining the scope of works, allowing greater certainty of the project costs and the financial package required from each of the funding partners to deliver an improved service. Therefore due to commercial confidentiality we are unable to provide the current cost or breakdown of costs as requested under EIR Regulation 10(4)(b).

As the exception is conditional we have applied the 'public interest test'. This means we have, in all the circumstances of this case, considered if the public interest in disclosing information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception.

Enclosed is a Q&A document from the project dated March 2022 which outlines an estimated project cost. I would also direct you to the Ardrossan Harbour Redevelopment webpage to access the current Q&A document via this link:

Infrastructure projects | Ardrossan Harbour re-development project | Transport Scotland

In regards to the cost/benefit analysis of the decision to upgrade the harbour, there was a review undertaken in 2016/2017 and I would refer you to the document link aside: Microsoft Word - 20170411 Arran Campbeltown Mainland Port Appraisal FINAL v3.0R (

2. We can confirm that we do not have any minutes regarding the creation of a Ferries Scotland organisation to replace CalMac and CMAL. The issue of structures around ferry services was considered in the EY Project Neptune report that can be found at the following link – An introduction to Project Neptune | Transport Scotland

3. Updates on the timescales for the delivery of the vessels are not issued directly to Transport Scotland as they are not the sponsor department for Fergusons Marine Port Glasgow. Updates would be sent to the relevant Department in the Economy Directorate and are not held by Transport Scotland.

4. The cost of the initial time charter period negotiated by CalMac Ferries Ltd with Pentland Ferries is £9.1m and for the subsequent extension to the time charter is £6.1m. The above costs are inclusive of the management and maintenance of the vessel and supplying the crew members, for which Pentland Ferries remain responsible throughout the charter period.

5. We can provide a rough estimate of costs covering Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service 3 (CHFS), Northern Isles Ferry Services (NIFS), local authority and private ferry networks.

Reduction in Passenger Fare Revenue (£)





No Behavioural Change





With 10% Patronage Rise





With 20% Patronage Rise





With 30% Patronage Rise





Please note:

  • Figures are based on a large number of assumptions, including islander proportion of patronage.
  • For foot passenger travel only
  • Covers CHFS, NIFS, Local Authority and private ferry networks
  • Does not include implementation and operational costs

6. We can confirm that Transport Scotland officials have been in discussions with interested parties relating to international ferry services, however no specific financial support has been awarded. Any company considering the reintroduction of a ferry from Rosyth would be eligible to apply for assistance under our Waterborne Freight Grant Scheme (WFG). This provides revenue support towards the costs of operating a service which will remove freight from the roads and transfer the movement to sea. The maximum allowable level of funding under the WFG scheme would be €2m over a three year period.

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Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

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