Royal HaskoningDHV has helped to complete a new ferry terminal at Ullapool Harbour in the Scottish Highlands. This is the first in a series of ferry terminals which RHDHV is developing across the west coast of Scotland, linked to a rise in tourism.
The old ferry which operated between Ullapool, on the mainland, and the port of Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis and Harris, had served the route for 20 years and needed replacing. A growing demand from overseas tourism and a need for additional ferry capacity led to a larger vessel being commissioned.
With funding from Transport Scotland, Ullapool Harbour Trust (UHT) asked RHDHV to assist with development of the harbour to accommodate the larger ferry. RHDHV was commissioned to design, procure and project manage a new passenger terminal building, a seaport boarding bridge, and a vehicle linkspan with supporting hoist towers and dolphins.
The project costs were shared between CMAL (Caledonian Marine Assets Ltd) which invested £42m in the new vessel, and UHT which invested £15m in the combined civil works, including the new vehicle linkspan and seaport boarding bridge. The contract to RHDHV was worth £330, 000.
Completion of the project means that up to 632, 000 passengers and 130, 000 cars can now be transported each year by the new MV Loch Seaforth.
Alistair Chan, Project Manager and marine Civil Engineer for CMAL for the Ullapool project, said: “RHDHV provided a high quality of service, demonstrated by the high level of competence of their staff, and the access to technical specialists within their organisation for delivery of the project.
“It was clear that RHDHV were dedicated to achieve the objectives of the project and were a key part of the success. The machinery provided has helped to safeguard the ferry service for many years to come, providing benefit for the local and wider community.
“Following on site completion, RHDHV has provided continued support and expertise and have been committed to ensure they have provided value for money.”
Tim Davies, Director of Passenger and Vehicle Terminals for Royal HaskoningDHV, said:
“As the world’s leading authority in the design of ferry ports, including the procurement of vehicle linkspans and seaport boarding bridges, we were the obvious choice for this very important project.
“The biggest challenge was not so much the design of the various elements under our responsibility but the remoteness of the site location. Preparing for a site visit was a major under taking; ensuring staff were well briefed, prepared with the correct equipment and drawings, and allowing a full day to get there, and another to get back.”
RHDHV engineers worked closely with vehicle linkspan designers and suppliers, MacGregor’s of Sweden, travelling to Sweden to carry out inspections and tests on equipment as fabrication progressed. During installation at Ullapool, two of our senior engineers, oversaw works on site, including a load test involving seven full tipper trucks, weighing a total of 315 tonnes.
We also worked with ADELTE, a specialist seaport boarding bridge manufacturer from Spain, through the design and manufacturing phase before the equipment was delivered to Ullapool for assembly, and load testing.
Mr Davies added: “We are currently carrying out work at other harbours across the Highlands. This is the beginning of a story, being driven by the old vessels which have served Scotland for a long time on the tourist routes. Unfortunately, they don’t have the scale and capacity which is now needed to match the increasing tourism from overseas, and there are more people wanting to use their cars.”
The main contractor for the Ullapool project was RJ McLeod which was responsible for the extension to the quay, replacing the fenders and building a new abutment structure for the vehicle linkspan, working from the design by Wallace Stone.