Cross-subsidisation within networks is an appropriate way of supporting island and remote communities as it helps ensure fair access to and affordability of services to those communities. The Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services contract operated by CalMac Ferries Ltd is an example of this. The current structure of Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd’s (CMAL) harbour charges is based on the principle role of its harbour network in supporting these essential ferry services. The Gourock-Dunoon service is provided under a separate public service contract. The Scottish Government will engage with CMAL and Argyll and Bute Council on the level of harbour dues at Gourock and Dunoon for the next tendered contract. It has been confirmed by CMAL that the current level of income generated by Gourock does not match the past, present or future improvements needed and as such the Gourock harbour is cross-subsidised by CMAL from the dues collected at other ports in their network.
As such the remarks attributed to Mr Docherty are consistent with the Scottish Government’s continued support of island and remote mainland communities. The Scottish Government's position on harbour charges will be reflected in the invitation to tender for the Gourock-Dunoon town centre ferry service when it is issued to qualifying participants.