Grant award puts freight back on Caledonian Canal

MV Kanutta is seen negotiating the Neptune Stairway during its successful maiden voyage on the Caledonian Canal last week. MV Kanutta is seen negotiating the Neptune Stairway during its successful maiden voyage on the Caledonian Canal last week.

Scottish Government grants of £255,000 have heralded the return of freight transportation along the Caledonian Canal.

The grants will also benefit the environment by removing over 15,000 lorry trips from the road network.

A £122,000 Mode Shift Revenue Support grant has been awarded to the Great Glen Shipping Company, complemented by an additional separate £65,000 grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). These grants are for a six month pilot scheme that will transport 7,600 tons of timber on the canal, as well as 6,000 tons of timber from Loch Etive to Corpach. They will also identify any technical or operational issues which may need to be overcome before launching a possible permanent service in the future.

A separate Scottish Government Freight Facilities Grant award of £133,000 to Boyd Brothers (Haulage) Ltd will support the provision of a mobile floating pier on Loch Etive. This will be used to transfer 108,000 tons of timber by water over the next five years.

It is expected the two grants will not only help improve connections between Scotland’s east and west coasts and beyond, but over the six month period of the pilot project will together remove up to 188,000 lorry miles, reducing emissions as well as congestion and wear and tear to roads.

Announcing the successful maiden voyage by the MV Kanutta through the Caledonian Canal, Stewart Stevenson, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change said, ‘This is an exciting development for the Scottish freight industry and our canal network. Not only will this route further open up Scotland for business, it will also support our aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by taking lorries off our roads, and helping to clear congestion on the vital A82 route.

‘The Scottish Government is working closely with British Waterways and Highland and Islands Enterprise to enable our canals to become an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative transport method.

‘I am pleased to see this pilot scheme directly benefit the local community, tourists, the freight industry and our environment in the short term and I am hopeful that the results of this pilot will allow for this route and benefits to be established for longer gain.’

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