Friday, June 10, 2016

Freight and Passenger Ferry Outfit Secures Three Transport Award Nominations

From Wedding Rescues to Environmental Considerations All Help Improve the Industry
Shipping News Feature
UK – Next week will see the celebrations which mark the Scottish Transport Awards, symbols of the exceptional endeavour and commitment across the transport sector which some organisations put in to make freight and passenger transport in the country aspire to ever higher standards. Ferry company CalMac, still euphoric at winning its latest contract to maintain the vital freight and passenger links on the Clyde and Hebrides service has this year managed to secure three nominations.

The company has been shortlisted as Public Transport Operator of the Year, in the category of Excellence in Innovation and Technology and for Frontline Employee of the Year. Customer services is an award which any company would aspire to given the pressure which any operation serving the public finds itself under. In the last year alone CalMac’s customer services department dealt with more than 300,000 calls. The Frontline Employee of the Year nomination recognises the dedicated work of 23-year-old customer services Demi Wylie in the face of a difficult period of industrial action last year.

With much disruption across the network expected, Demi became aware of seven island weddings which were in jeopardy and seven pairs of very distressed brides and grooms. She took it upon herself and a small team to become the single liaison point for all those involved and skilfully worked with the couples to make sure their special days were not derailed. Her interventions, determination, perseverance and tireless hard work paid off in some very difficult circumstances.

Demi ensured all travel plans for more than 600 guests were examined and alternative arrangements put in place to ensure that each happy couple’s special day was able to go ahead without a hitch. She spent hours talking to the brides and grooms, reassuring them, working with them and understanding their issues. And, once she had put all the logistical arrangements in place, she and her team also found time to source extra special gifts for each couple with handmade products from the island they had chosen for their wedding.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the company, a team of technical staff, led by project manager John Gray, has been implementing a high-tech system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on board all 10 of CalMac’s major vessels. Known as Project Ecoship, the installation of fuel monitoring systems on the large ships is expected to reduce the release of harmful gases by a target of 2%, equivalent to 1,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, 4,285,714 miles driven by an average passenger car, or 645 tonnes of waste sent to landfill. CalMac is the first ferry company in the UK to implement this over a major part of its fleet. For this visionary approach, the company has received its Excellence in Innovation and Technology nod.

For the Scottish ferry operator it was both a busy and productive year with many highs and one or two difficult lows, but the combination of innovation, resilience, leading by example, creativity and much more led to CalMac’s shortlisting for Public Transport Operator of the Year. Managing Director Martin Dorchester summed up saying:

“I couldn’t be more proud of CalMac staff right across the network. All of these nominations, whether for an individual or a small team, recognise significant work and support across all areas of the business and we are lucky to have exceptional people who always rise to the occasion. Despite some difficult times last year, as well as uncertainty in light of the tender process for the new Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service contract, CalMac’s people have remained stalwarts throughout, I thoroughly commend and thank them all.”

Photo: An engineer on board MV Caledonian Isles inspects the Project Ecoship fuel management system