Tendering for Clyde and Hebrides ferry contract gets underway

The next contract will run from 1 October 2016 for a duration of up to eight years. Scottish Ministers will provide up to £1bn of funding to support the enhancement and development of these lifeline ferry services, in addition to fares revenue.

This funding will also ensure the continued application of Road Equivalent Tariff to CHFS routes, bringing significantly reduced fares and helping to support the tourist industry on the islands.

A Contract Notice has been submitted to the Official Journal of the European Union, signalling the Scottish Government’s intention to take forward a competition for the provision of the services from October 2016.

Preliminary work on the procurement exercise began last year, and today marks the start of the selection process inviting potential bidders to come forward.

Mr Mackay said:

“The Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services play a crucial role in the day-to-day lives of our island communities, enabling continued and sustainable economic growth. We have made clear our commitment to supporting them by ensuring we deliver safe and reliable services for ferry users.

“The Contract Notice is the first formal step in taking forward a competition for the next CHFS contract, which will run from 1 October 2016.

“We are looking to award a contract that runs for a period up to eight years. This will make it more attractive to potential bidders by giving the operator more opportunity to deliver service improvements and efficiencies over the course of the contract.

“The tendering team began the preliminary procurement steps last year, but this effectively starts the selection stage of the process and we are now encouraging potential bidders to come forward.

“A full public consultation exercise was undertaken during the Ferries Review, which helped to define the shape of future ferry services. The Ferries Plan, published in December 2012, will form the basis of the contract. This engagement process will continue so that all key stakeholders are kept fully informed throughout the procurement exercise.

“I also remain clear that there will be no unbundling of services, and reiterate that the tender will be taken forward as a single contract.

“We are now focused on ensuring a fair and open competition that leads to getting the very best deal for all of the communities of the Clyde and Hebrides.”

Notes to editors

Since 2007 the Scottish Government has provided ferry services and associated infrastructure in Scotland with almost £1billion of support.

The latest financial estimates suggest that some £800million - £1billion of public subsidy funding will be provided by Scottish Ministers to support the Clyde and Hebrides lifeline ferry services over the duration of the next 8-year contract .

The procurement process will be carried out using the Competitive Procedure with Negotiation methodology. Its use will encompass the minimum requirements of service specification with negotiation to encourage innovative delivery of service provision on the more qualitative elements of bidders’ responses.

Key Milestones:



Submission of Contract Notice

17 February 2015

Invitation to Tender

June 2015

Conclusion of first negotiations and call for further tenders

September 2015

If required , conclusion of second negotiations and call for further tenders

Variable, according to requirements. NB may bring forward subsequent dates.

Invitation for Final tender

By December 2015

Submission of final tenders

By end of January 2016

Anticipated award of the contract

End of May 2016

Proposed start of Public Service Operations

1 October 2016

Published 17 Feb 2015 Tags