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Serco meetings

Serco project manager Jonathan Riley

SHETLAND’S export businesses said they had been “encouraged” after a meeting with new ferry operator Serco this week.

Serco’s project manager Jonathan Riley and an associate met local firms in Lerwick on Wednesday to discuss the freight service the company intends to operate.

Concerns have been raised after it emerged that Serco only intended to operate a single freight vessel for six months of the year.

Speaking on BBC Radio Shetland on Thursday night, Shetland Seafood chief executive Ruth Henderson said: “We fully appraised them of the needs of the industry and we were assured they would continue to listen and maintain an open dialogue.”

Meanwhile northern isles MSPs Tavish Scott and Liam McArthur met with the company’s bid director at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday stressing the importance of the service to the isles’ economy.

Mr Scott said: “I also want to see security for NorthLink staff and a seamless transfer.

“I also encouraged Serco management to be based in Shetland as this would allow a greater understanding of the challenges faced in running the lifeline service from a Shetland perspective.”

In Orkney people are concerned about the timetable being operated on the Scrabster-Stromness route.

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021