HAULIERS in the Scottish islands are not surprisingly “through the roof” after ferry services were decimated amid a series of breakdowns.

Tourism businesses getting ready for the reopening of the isles are concerned the Scottish Government’s plans for exiting the pandemic may also be curtailed.

Four lifeline CalMac ferries have broken down in three weeks, freight has been disrupted and the redistribution of what’s left always leaves someone without.

The fleet’s largest vessel, the eight-year-old MV Loch Seaforth, was due back on Monday but now it looks more likely to be some weeks away, with CalMac so far unable to source a temporary replacement.

There is also growing concern over future ferry capacity and the potential for tension between islanders and tourists when the vessels are all back running.

HeraldScotland: Freight disruption has been significant.Freight disruption has been significant.

Rob McKinnon, chief executive of Outer Hebrides Tourism, said: “Ageing ships and the five years of delay in launching new vessels have all but eliminated resilience in the CalMac network.

“Any loss of capacity has an immediate impact on services, especially as ‘social distancing’ reduces the number of passengers allowed on a vessel."

He said: “Competition for the limited spaces creates unnecessary and unhelpful tension between islanders and visitors.

“The timing of this latest incident could not be worse and risks undermining recent Government decisions to allow travel to the islands to help the economy recover.”

READ MORE: Islands ferry failure threatens Sturgeon reopening

The focus switches to what looks like a ramshackle provision this Business Week.

The taxpayer-funded Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited procures publicly-owned CalMac’s ships on behalf of the Scottish Government. So where does the buck stop there?

HeraldScotland: MV Loch Seaforth could be in dry dock until May 14.MV Loch Seaforth could be in dry dock until May 14.

On the subject of bold investment carried through. Do Scottish politicians have the foresight to give Scottish businesses the backing they need to rebuild the economy? Business Editor Ian McConnell examines the question in his Friday column.

“Accountability is obviously crucial and projects need to be executed well but some things will work and others will not if Scotland decides to pursue an ambitious industrial policy.

"Major companies often face large write-offs after taking the wrong path, for example with ultimately ill-starred investment in certain technologies, products or markets or in big new information technology systems which do not work out.

"And it is important to realise that, if the state is going to intervene to try to boost the economy, create jobs and improve living standards, not everything will work out, no matter how well it is done,” writes the Business Editor.

HeraldScotland: Herald Newsletter daily banner

A good result for Edinburgh start-up Current Health as it raises £31 million in what is believed to be largest funding of its kind in Scottish tech history.

The cash will allow the company, whose platform delivers healthcare in the home, to more than double headcount with the creation of 100 new jobs by the end of this year, Business Correspondent Kristy Dorsey reveals.

The carbon capture revolution came under Business Correspondent Mark Williamson’s scrutiny this week and he wonders if the case been made.

A timely reminder from Deputy Business Editor Scott Wright in his Thursday column that “it is important not to underplay the mental health benefits that the reopening of hospitality will bring”.

From the Office for National Stastics this week:

HeraldScotland: