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Stena Appeal to First Minister


STENA Line has taken its case for a new port in Lochryan to Scotland's First Minister.

The ferry company's bosses flew over from Sweden to meet Alex Salmond and Finance Secretary John Swinney to stress the importance of the Stranraer to Belfast route to the country.

And chief executive Dan Sten Olsson and route director Alan Gordon also pushed the case for further investment in both the A75 and A77.

The company are currently undertaking a six month study to decide on their future in Stranraer after a deal to move to a super port in Cairnryan fell through.

They are also drilling at Old House Point north of Cairnryan to see if it is suitable as a possible location. Mr Gordon said:

"The meeting was important in the process of looking at a potential new port in Lochryan and to look at the road infrastructure links.

"There will be further meetings with officials to progress the possible port but overall we felt it was a very positive meeting."

Mr Gordon also said the drilling north of Cairnryan was going well but it would be another month before the final results were available.

He said: "This is all part of the feasibility study."

A package of statistics was presented to the two top Government officials.

These included Stena's estimation that the company's business generated 1000 jobs in the area and brought £22 million into the local economy.

South of Scotland MSP Alasdair Morgan was also at the meeting and said its speedy arrangement showed the SNP's understanding of how important the route is to the country and to south west Scotland. He said:

"It was also a good sign that Stena brought across their top people to demonstrate how important they see the route.

"It is a vital development and we need to make sure it goes ahead and try to do everything we can to facilitate it.

"The SNP is also very conscious that the A75 and A77 should have been improved back in the late 90s but it seems to have taken forever to get them through the system.

"Both are still lagging well behind what they should be like.

"What people do not seem to have realised in the past is that it is not the average traffic flow through the day, it is the block of traffic that travels when the ferries arrive that is the problem."

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