Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus B MacNeil has written to Keith Brown MSP, Transport Minister and Martin Dorchester, Managing Director of CalMac on behalf of the shellfish industry following reports that some operators are being refused the permitted free ferry journey for vivier lorries.

Vivier lorries are entitled to travel free on one leg of the journey, on the condition that the lorry is empty.  However, tubes and crates are contained within these vehicles, as they are essential for transporting live shellfish.  This has been classed as cargo and shellfish operators have not been able to take up the benefit of travelling one-way free of charge.

Angus MacNeil said:

“I have been contacted by numerous shellfish operators who tell me that they are unable to take advantage of the concession because the tubes and crates used to transport the live shellfish are classed as cargo.”

“Shellfish operators require the tubes and crates to ensure that the live shellfish are not damaged during transportation.  It is unfair that on their return, these tubes and crates are classed as cargo and therefore the operators are charged for the journey.

“There is a danger that the shellfish industry in our islands could suffer as a result of this ruling and I have written to Keith Brown MSP, Transport Minister to ask that he looks at this anomaly.  I hope that the Minister will intervene and ensure that the shellfish operators are treated fairly.

“Equipment used time and time again for the transport of shellfish has to be seen as an integral part of the equipment required.  We are looking for a common sense approach and for people to be able to go about their business and create prosperity rather than having to grabble with awkward bureaucratic issues.”