Feature, Freight News, Sea, Road

Scots roads are Ulster Achilles heel, says FTA

[ January 11, 2018   //   ]

Northern Ireland continues to be disadvantaged by poor road access to Scottish ports, says the Freight Transport Association after ferry company Stena Line raised concerns over the issue.

FTA says that while road connections within Northern Ireland have kept pace with economic development- work on a major bottleneck, the York Street Interchange is due to start soon – the same cannot be said of key roads in Scotland, specifically the road network to and from Loch Ryan, which handles approximately 45% of Northern Ireland’s trade with the rest of the UK.

Paul Grant, Stena Line’s trade director (Irish Sea North) said: “We have been working hard over a number of years to try to get key road improvements made on the A77 and more importantly the A75 heading south from Scotland.  Despite significant investments by ferry operators between NI and Scotland, including Stena Line’s new £80m port and terminal facility at Cairnryan, which included the introduction of two larger ferries, successive administrations have been unable to commit the necessary capital resources to carry out these vital road upgrades.”

He added that investment in roads at Holyhead and Heysham are already providing tangible benefits to business in their regions.”

He added: “The dualling of the A75 will be a long-term infrastructure project which could take a number of years to plan and complete.  As it stands however, the clock isn’t even ticking so if we want NI to remain a competitive, forward thinking economy which can attract major investments in the future, we need to start the process now before a shift in trade away from NI becomes irreversible.”

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