Multi-million-pound Tarbert (Harris) Ferry Terminal building completed

The ferry terminal building at Tarbert on the Isle of Harris

THE NEW £1.5million ferry terminal building at Tarbert on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides opened to the public this week (23 January 2023).

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), which owns the ferry terminal, led the award-winning harbour redevelopment project. The first phase concluded in February 2022, when a new pier, fendering system, and enlarged marshalling area were unveiled. The work was carried out while the lifeline ferry terminal remained operational, causing minimal disruption.

The redevelopment received a Scottish Civil Engineering Marine Infrastructure Award in November 2022.

Phase two saw local contractors Lewis Builders of Stornoway appointed to build the terminal building which will open to the public on Monday (23 January). Passengers will benefit from increased seating and the building will be the first public location in Harris and Lewis to have Changing Placestoilet facilities for people with additional needs. The final phase of the project includes removal of the temporary terminal building, completion of the east end of the marshalling area and installation of electric vehicle charging points and a cycle shelter. 

Ramsay Muirhead, Director of Port Infrastructure & Planning, said: “We are very proud of this building which has been completed on schedule and on budget by a local contractor.

“The work to redevelop the harbour and terminal building began in 2019 – and had to pause during the global pandemic. As soon as we were able to resume work safely, we did; and it is testament to the hard work of our contractors and the patience of the local community that we are now able to welcome passengers to the new terminal.”

Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth said: “I’m delighted to see the newly upgraded harbour facilities at Tarbert open for business and would like to thank everyone involved for their hard work on this project.

“These facilities are a great example of how the Scottish Government is supporting our island communities by making sure they have access to the best ferry and harbour facilities possible. I’m particularly pleased to see the introduction of Changing Places toilet facilities, making sure our harbours are accessible to all.

“This investment at Tarbert is part of the wider programme of port work funded by over £100 million from the Scottish Government.  The Tarbert route will also benefit from the recently announced £115 million investment in two new vessels, as our intention is that these ferries would be deployed on the Skye triangle routes to Lochmaddy and Tarbert, delivering dedicated services to communities in the peak season rather than the shared vessel operation currently in place. This will create the opportunity for significantly increased capacity and resilience for the communities of the Outer Hebrides.

“I look forward to visiting the new facilities at Tarbert in the future to formally open them and see them in use by the local community.”

CMAL is delivering significant vessel and harbour investment, backed by a £695 million commitment from the Scottish Government for a five-year period from 2021 to 2026. Plans are underway to deliver 21 new vessels for the fleet and multi-million-pound upgrade of harbour infrastructure over the next 10 years.  More information is online at

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