Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) ferry services to and from the Scottish islands support total turnover of £270million at companies around the country, a new report says.
The study into Calmac’s contribution to the economy is based on research by Strathclyde University’s Fraser of Allander Institute, whose findings will be unveiled at the Scottish Transport Conference in Edinburgh today.
The report also says CalMac, one of the largest companies headquartered in Scotland and the UK’s largest ferry network operator, employs 1,476 people and supports a total of 5,883 jobs in mainland and island communities across the country.
In addition, the £41million paid in salaries to CalMac’s Scottish employees is said to support wages worth a total of £85million at rates 12% above the national average.
The report says the company is the main channel of support for business activity on the islands, carrying 92,734 commercial vehicles in 2014.
It also details CalMac’s contribution to tourism and highlights how much CalMac’s support for the industry creates economic growth. The report says 3,247 island jobs paying a total of £53.4million in wages are supported by CalMac’s operations.
Fraser of Allander research fellow Stewart Dunlop said: “CalMac is clearly the key channel of support for commercial activity on the islands it serves.
“Items exported from the islands include food and drink products, notably high value exports such as whisky and shellfish, both of which contribute significantly to total Scottish exports.
“In terms of imports, CalMac’s activity covers the majority of items sold by local retailers, including fuel, food, mail, medical supplies, oil, gas, and utilities, without which it would be difficult to maintain an acceptable quality of life on the islands.”
Gourock-based CalMac says it carried 4.6million passengers in 2014