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Ferry tender provokes CalMac challenge

CalMac Ferries has challenged the decision by Transport Scotland to award the Northern Isles Ferry Contract to to Serco Ltd.

CalMac Ferries are challenging Transport Scotland on its decision to award the Northern Isles ferry contract to competitor Serco Ltd. The state-run ferry operator has claimed that, when it comes to price, they offered a better deal in their bid to win the £345 million tender.

The company, which is scrutinising the results of the tender process, has confirmed that it is in talks with Transport Scotland over the decision.

Meanwhile, Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has voiced concerns that this challenge may prolong the already delayed tender process.

He said: “The future of these lifeline ferry services has already been subject to an 18 month delay, with all the inevitable uncertainty that has created. Any further delay is therefore disappointing and should be kept to a minimum.

“Given the importance of these services to communities in Orkney and Shetland, it is essential that value as well as cost is taken fully into consideration.

“Calmac are within their rights to challenge the decision but Ministers must now act swiftly in dealing with this complaint. Businesses and those in the Northern Isles who depend on these lifeline services deserve nothing less and cannot continue to be left in limbo.”

For further details, see this Thursday’s The Orcadian.

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