Calmac submits “compelling” bid for £1bn ferry contract

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CalMac Ferries Ltd has submitted its final bid in the process to select the operator of the next Clyde & Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) contract, with managing director Martin Dorchester confident it will make the firm a clear winner when a decision is made in a few months’ time.

CalMac, which is synonymous with ferry services on the west coast of Scotland, is the current operator of the routes under a contract with Scottish Ministers.

That contract expires in September and the Scottish Government’s transport agency, Transport Scotland, has been running a competitive process to select a provider of the services from 1st October 2016, for a period of up to eight years.

CalMac is up against one other bidder for the £1 billion contract with ministers expected to decide between the two bids before the end of May.

Martin Dorchester, managing director of CalMac Ferries Ltd, said: “I believe the bid we submitted last week is an outstanding piece of work and makes a compelling case for CalMac to win this hugely important contract.

“I’m confident we will be the clear winner when a decision is reached in May and, if so, I’m determined that we’ll deliver our best service levels yet.

“We’re very proud of CalMac’s rich heritage, but I’m even prouder of the internationally-recognised, customer-focused, ambitious, multi-award winning company we’ve become.

“Across the network our staff and crews work tirelessly to provide an efficient, reliable, and modern service to the individuals and communities who depend upon us every day.

“CalMac will always put the lifeline ferry services and the needs of the remote communities we serve above any commercial concerns.

“Operating on the west coast is our principal reason to exist. Nobody knows these routes better than us and providing 130,000 sailings a year in some of the most challenging waters in Europe is impressive by any standards.

“I believe that our vast knowledge and experience of these routes makes CalMac the best qualified and the only credible operator of them now and in the future.”