The new livestock lairage facility at Lerwick Port Authority’s Holmsgarth facility has seen a steady season draw to a close with the “Zebu Express” making her last call to Lerwick for stock on 20 October 2006.

The new £340,000 state of the art lairage facility was built earlier this year under a contract managed by Lerwick Port Authority. The project was jointly funded through grant assistance provided by Shetland Islands Council and the Scottish Executive and came into service in August. Operated through an agreement with NorthLink Ferries Ltd, Shetland Livestock Marketing Group also oversee and manage arrangements for the examination and disease testing of animals arriving at the quayside.

Port Authority Chief Executive, Allan Wishart, said “The new lairage facility is very much a sign of the times and has greatly improved the facilities we can offer at Lerwick for handling animals awaiting shipment to the mainland.”

Around 50,000 animals have already passed through the new facility which has the capacity to accommodate up to 3000 sheep. Amongst the improved facilities include external cattle pens, a covered building housing stock holding areas and isolation pens, storage facilities and improved welfare facilities for staff operating the facility. Externally the facility has four loading and unloading bays with better vehicular access, large permanent and seasonal temporary penned areas and improved facilities for loading animals on to the stock vessels.

Eddie Barclay, Freight & Logistics Manager with NorthLink Ferries Ltd commented “The improved facilities for handling stock at Holmsgarth have proved very successful and resulted in easier handling and smoother running livestock operations.”

Karl Simpson, Marketing Manager with Shetland Livestock Marketing Group added “The new facilities have provided significant improvements for the welfare of animals that comply with new standards for handling livestock.”

During the winter the temporary seasonal external pens will be taken down and stored to provide a larger freight marshalling area until they are erected again in preparation for the start of the 2007 stock season next August.

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