Northern Isles ferry contract

The next contract to operate the Northern Isles ferry Services network will be awarded through a fair, open and transparent procurement process.

The decision to put the contract out to tender was taken following extensive consultation with key local stakeholders, consideration of value for money issues and further correspondence from the European Commission on the possibility of making a direct contract award to an in-house provider.

The procurement process will get underway in June, with a view to making the award in Summer 2019.

Minister for Transport and the Islands Humza Yousaf said:

“We have always said we would take the views of the local community into account when it came to the procurement of the next Northern Isles Ferry Services contract. Through the consultation process, it’s become clear that the preference of the local communities is for this contract to be put out to tender, rather than a direct award to an in-house operator.

"In addition, the latest correspondence from the European Commission means satisfying European Law for a direct award will take us beyond the currently extended Northern Isles contract.

“As a result, we will start the tender process next month in order to allow enough time to complete this high value and complex procurement, ensuring that communities and businesses have the certainty they need.  Delaying this any further would put the continued delivery of ferry services at risk, something I am not prepared to do.

“The decision to tender the Northern Isles contract does not change my position on the future approach to be taken for the next Clyde and Hebrides contract. I remain minded to make direct award to CalMac if we can satisfy all the necessary criteria.”

Published 24 May 2018