Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) has announced that Lloyds Banking Group plc (LBG) are to provide financing for a replacement vessel for the Stornoway to Ullapool route and has named Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft MBH & Co. KG (FSG), Germany as the preferred shipyard for the detailed design and construction of the vessel.
CMAL will enter into an operating lease with LBG and following delivery, CMAL will charter the vessel to the operator of the route.
The new 116m Roll On Roll Off vehicle passenger ferry will be capable of operating 24 hours a day and will have a capacity for up to 700 passengers, and 143 cars or 20 commercial vehicles.
After consultation and advice from CMAL, FSG was selected by LBG as the preferred yard for the design and construction of the vessel. The selection of FSG followed the detailed evaluation of a number of high quality tenders from shipyards, during which FSG demonstrated that their bid was the most economically advantageous tender in terms of price, quality, delivery, operating costs and emission reductions.
The decision for a single new vessel followed a Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) procedure and subsequent detailed technical and financial analysis, as well as extensive community consultation, to examine options for future ferry provision on the route after the existing freight vessel, MV MUIRNEAG, is withdrawn from service in October 2013.
CMAL sought proposals through an OJEU tendering process for operating lease funding terms from banks and other financial institutions to finance the procurement of a new vessel for the route.
Following a successful tender exercise, Lloyds Banking Group plc were selected to provide operating lease finance for the new vessel. On delivery, CMAL will then charter the vessel to the operator of the route under the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services contract.
The new vessel is scheduled for delivery in June 2014 and will go into service shortly thereafter.
Commenting on the announcement CMAL Chief Executive, Guy Platten, said:
“We are delighted that we now have plans in place for a new vessel for the Stornoway to Ullapool route, which provides a critical lifeline service for communities between the Western Isles and the Scottish mainland.
“The decision to develop a single vessel represents the most cost effective option and will be more fuel efficient and reliable for passengers who use the service, minimising weather delays and ensuring that maintenance can be carried out without affecting the operation of the ship, leading to less delays and cancellations.”