Two operators have been invited to take part in the next stage of the tender for the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) contract, Minister for Transport and Islands Derek Mackay has announced.
CalMac Ferries Limited and Serco Caledonian Ferries Limited have both passed the pre-qualification stage of the process and will be invited to submit tenders for the next CHFS contract, which will run from 1st October 2016 for a duration of up to eight years.
Both operators will, today, be given access to copies of the draft Invitation To Tender (ITT) documentation, which will then formally be issued to them on the 10th July 2015.
The invitation for both operators to submit a final tender is scheduled for December 2015, with a view to awarding the contract in May 2016.
Mr Mackay said: “This is another significant step forward for the tender process and moves us closer to awarding the next Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services contract.
“The award of this contract will be an incredibly important moment for the island communities served by these lifeline ferry services. The Scottish Government will provide up to £1bn of funding to support the enhancement and development of these services, in addition to fares revenue. It will also ensure that Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) continues to be applied on CHFS routes, bringing significantly reduced fares for passengers, cars, small commercial vehicles and coaches and helping to support local communities and the tourist industry.
“These ferry services play a crucial role in enabling continued and sustainable economic growth for the Islands. We are committed to delivering the very best deal for all of the communities of the Clyde and Hebrides.”