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CalMac welcomes productive summit on ferry service

CalMac's ongoing commitment to providing a reliable and resilient ferry service has been reiterated by chief executive Robbie Drummond at a meeting with community representatives.

At the roundtable event on Monday 5 February, Mr. Drummond and CalMac Operations Director Robert Morrison highlighted the ongoing need for continued investment in vessels and harbour infrastructure is so that CalMac can provide a resilient service.

The event, which was organised by Scotland Office Minister John Lamont on behalf of the UK Government, brought together a range of representatives including CalMac, politicians and ferry community groups.

Mr. Drummond said: "CalMac takes its responsibility to provide a reliable and resilient ferry service very seriously and welcomes all opportunities to listen to communities to understand what we are doing well and where we can continue to improve.

"Yesterday's event should be seen as just part of the extensive efforts CalMac makes to engage with all of our key stakeholders on a regular basis. It was encouraging to hear our hard work to communicate better recognised.

"We will now reflect on what was discussed yesterday and intend to follow-up with everyone who was in the room to progress some actions from a productive meeting."

The event also provided an opportunity to directly explain reasons behind important issues such as weather cancellations. Also reinforced was the communities' aspiration for the next Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service to be more flexible and service focused which we fully support, We are committed to working with Transport Scotland to deliver this change.

Mr Drummond added: "We discussed weather-related cancellations extensively because ferry services have been heavily disrupted recently due to several storms. This gave us the opportunity to explain that decisions to cancel a sailing are only ever taken as a last resort by our highly skilled crew, who will use last-minute windows of better weather and we will not issue blanket cancellations. While this often can mean late changes, this flexible approach was recognised and welcomed.

"Everyone at CalMac is committed to providing a quality and reliable ferry service and we will continue to work with, and listen to, our local communities. We work very closely with stakeholders such as the local ferry groups, the Ferries Community Board and Transport Scotland, and their valuable opinions help us to shape the delivery of these services.

"The six major and 10 small new vessels funded by the Scottish Government and arriving over the next few years are very much welcome; however, we face a difficult period as we wait in anticipation for them to be fully operational on the network. In the meantime, we will continue to work in partnership with local stakeholders and communities to ensure the best possible outcomes for all who rely on our services."

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