19/05/2016 - HITRANS welcomes naming of preferred tenderer for Clyde and Hebrides network
An announcement by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that CalMac Ferries Limited is the preferred tenderer for the next contract to operate the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) network has been welcomed by HITRANS, the regional transport partnership for the Highlands and Islands.
The tender price for the next contract is around £900 million for eight years from the 1 October 2016.
Ranald Robertson, Director of HITRANS, particularly welcomed the wide ranging improvements in the contract, including a £6 million investment in vessel and port improvements, the commitment to appoint a Director of Stakeholder and Community Engagement to support a Community Board and the introduction of smart and integrated ticketing systems on key routes,
Mr Robertson served on the Independent Procurement Reference Panel set up to oversee the process.
He said: “Our rural and island communities depend hugely on lifeline ferry services. I am sure the new contract will better support our island economies, through providing more attractive and value for money services which will increase traffic and thereby boost the local economy.”
Scottish Ministers will retain control of all of important issues, such as fares and timetables, through the public service contract. Vessels and port infrastructure will also remain publicly owned as they are now.
The 10-day standstill period began on 18 May 2016, when letters were sent to both bidders confirming the outcome of the tender process.
The decision to name CalMac as preferred bidder follows a competitive tender process, which an independent procurement panel reviewed and commented on was as being fair, open and transparent.
Further details of CalMac Ferries Ltd’s tender will be given once the 10-day standstill period has passed.
CalMac’s tender price came in at £900 million for the full eight year term of the contract. This falls within our upper estimate of £1 billion. However, this cost is based on 2014-15 services, to provide a consistent basis for tender prices to be prepared and assessed.
Before the contract starts on 1 October 2016, the specification of the services will have to be varied to match Ministers’ current requirements. Consequently, the total cost will increase to reflect new services – such as additional routes, an enhanced pattern of sailings, additional vessel deployment and direct investment in franchise transferable assets - such as the new booking and ticketing system to be developed and introduced to support better service for customers. The adjusted costs will remain within the contract estimate and this adjustment would be required, whoever had won the contract.