The trust port, along with its partners has also made significant progress in 2021 towards its goal of developing a Deep Water Terminal, which, once operational, will bring significant, lasting economic benefits throughout the islands.

The SPA’s port masterplan, setting out the development of Stornoway harbour over 20 years, was developed in close consultation with the local community, business sectors and public sector partners and launched in 2017.

Its vision was to build a truly sustainable business, providing a catalyst for economic growth across the Outer Hebrides and beyond.

Over the past 12 months SPA, which in common with all trust ports re-invests any profits it makes into the port for the benefit of all its stakeholders, continued to build on the progress made on delivering the masterplan in previous years.

Among the notable milestones in 2021 was the opening of the shellfish processing building at Goat island. The facility was handed over to its tenant, Macduff Shellfish, in August and langoustine processed there is now being shipped around the world. 

The addition of this building, with state of the art processing equipment, to the facilities at Stornoway harbour will play a key role in continuing to open up new markets for the Hebridean-branded west coast langoustine.

In late 2021, a new slip-resistant floor covering, together with new doors and other security measures, was installed at the fish mart, which, among other benefits, will help with the marketing of the langoustine, by providing an increased hygiene regime.

The year also saw work start on projects totalling £2.5milion to develop a new marine engineering workshop and vessel washdown area, as part of a wider £12m investment in its Newton Basin/Goat Island development.

The building envelope is now almost complete at the engineering facility, which is due to be completed in 2022.  The Engineering Building will serve both the commercial and marine leisure markets and will provide a valuable asset that will allow local businesses to create skilled jobs.

Newton marina finally opened, increasing our marina capacity by 83 berths. The new boat lift at the site is now in constant use and the addition of the engineering workshop next year will start to see the true scale of the potential of this important development realised.

In common with other businesses and organisations, communities and individuals, SPA faced the considerable challenges posed by the ongoing Covid pandemic throughout 2021. However, thanks in large part to detailed operational planning and staff adaptability, there was virtually no disruption to services provided to port customers throughout the year.

In August, the Harbour Open Day, proved a highly successful and enjoyable event.  One of the few public events to take place in the Outer Hebrides during the year, the SPA worked closely with the local community to create an occasion that provided a welcome, fun-filled escape from the pressures of Covid for youngsters and people of all ages.

The coming year is expected to see major steps in the construction of the planned Deep Water Terminal at Stornoway – one of the largest investments ever in the Outer Hebrides and aimed at developing a truly sustainable economy across the islands.

During 2021 a huge amount of work has been carried out on the transformational project by all the partners in the project. With the design finalised and funding arranged, it is hoped the multi-purpose terminal, providing modern facilities for a range of sectors, including the energy, transport and cruise industries, will be operational by 2023. The planned facility is already attracting a high level of interest from potential customers.

SPA chief executive, Alex MacLeod said: “Our aim in devising and delivering the Port masterplan has always been to develop Stornoway harbour in a way that will help facilitate real, long-term economic growth throughout the Outer Hebrides.

“We are very pleased that, despite the challenges of 2021, we have been able to continue delivering key elements of the masterplan for the benefit of the islands.  It was also great to host the Harbour Open Day, which was a real bright spot for so many people in a tough year.

“As well as important projects such as the marine engineering workshop and the food standards building, we, along with our partners have also made steady progress in 2021 towards the development of the Deep Water Terminal at Stornoway.  We look forward to that continuing apace in the year ahead as we work with our stakeholders and partners to deliver that vital, transformational project.”

Mr MacLeod continued: “We hope that all the hard work by everyone involved in the Deep Water Terminal over the past four years will start to be realised early in 2022.

“The huge effort to ensure this project delivers the maximum benefit across the island will not ease up with the start of construction. 

“We will be focusing on staff development to ensure all the members of our team are ready for the future and we will also be working closely with the community to ensure that, together, we will realise the true potential of this vital new terminal.”