Tenders invited for two new Islay ferries



Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) has invited bids for the contract to build two new ferries for Islay.

Following consultation with Transport Scotland, CalMac and communities on Islay, a decision has been made to build two vessels to improve the resilience of the network.

The new vessels will have greater vehicle capacity than those currently operating on the route, along with significantly lower energy requirement. They will be designed with a focus on freight, including the capability to operate a possible overnight freight service.

The Islay route is already one of the busiest services for freight on the Clyde and Hebrides network. Sufficient passenger accommodation will also be designed to meet an anticipated increase in passenger demand.

Evaluation of the first stage of the procurement exercise is now complete, with 35 organisations expressing interest and 11 following up with actual responses.

Reaching the invitation to tender (ITT) stage are: Damen Shipyard in Romania, Remontowa Shipbuilding in Poland, and Turkish shipyards Sefine Denizcilik Tersanecilik Turizm, and Cemre Marin Endustri.

Liberal Democrat economy spokesperson Willie Rennie said: “It is a damning indictment of the Scottish Government’s utter failure to secure high tech, high wage jobs that there is no shipyard in Scotland on this shortlist.

“The Ferguson shipyard saga reflected a government who were far better at putting on high-viz jackets for photo opportunities than they were at securing good quality jobs.”

Scottish Labour transport spokesperson Neil Bibby said: “This news will come as a hammer-blow to Scotland’s shipbuilders and demonstrates the SNP’s complete lack of an industrial strategy.

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“The modernisation of the ferry network can help secure the future of Ferguson’s and drive the economic renewal of the Lower Clyde – for the Scottish Government to keep missing these opportunities or making a complete mess of them is a damming indictment of the SNP.”

The shortlisted shipyards will now submit technical and commercial proposals for the design and construction of the two vessels.

The contract will be awarded to the winning shipyard no later than the end of March 2022.

Jim Anderson, director of vessels at CMAL, said: “Four shipyards scored the highest across both criteria and have now been issued an ITT for the contract.

“The ITT stage marks an important step forward in bringing a new vessel to Islay and Jura.

“It is one of several new vessel and harbour upgrade projects we are currently progressing to improve the resilience of ferry services for island communities.”

CMAL owns 26 harbours on the west coast of Scotland which support the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service (CHFS).

It also owns 36 ferries, 31 of which are leased to CalMac on routes to the islands and peninsulas of the west of Scotland, with the remaining five leased to Serco Northlink Ferries for Orkney and Shetland routes.

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