Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Transport and the Islands Humza Yousaf that the next contract to run the Gourock-Dunoon ferry service will bring more resilient vessels to the route.
A Contract Notice has been published today, announcing the Scottish Government’s intention to run a procurement for the next contract which is due to begin in June 2017. The new contract will run for 12 years.
As part of this procurement, the tender document will specify that the next operator will have to provide vessels of 40 metres in length. This will bring greater resilience to the service, particularly during adverse weather conditions. Additionally, performance deductions will be applied for avoidable service disruption.
Bidders will be asked to tender for a passenger service, whilst being encouraged to provide an unsubsidised vehicle carrying service. The contract will also feature a continued commitment to half-hourly crossings on the route.
Interested parties will be invited to submit formal tenders later this summer, with a view to awarding the contract in Spring 2017.
Mr Yousaf said:
“The publication of this Contract Notice fires the starting gun on the tender exercise for the next Gourock-Dunoon ferry services contract.
“Following close consultation with local stakeholders, we have specified that bidders will have to provide vessels of 40 metres in length. This will help address the current issue of reliability on the service, and offer greater resilience during periods of adverse weather.
“The 40 metre specification may require a potential bidder to make a significant capital investment. Tendering for a 12-year contract will make this a more attractive option, allowing bidders a greater length of time to see a return on that investment.
“The Scottish Government’s wish is to see a passenger and vehicle service operating between Gourock and Dunoon. That is why we are encouraging bidders to operate a commercial vehicle carrying service, alongside a subsidised passenger service.
Commenting, Stuart McMillan MSP said:
“This tender underlines the Scottish Government’s continued commitment to the Gourock-Dunoon ferry service. It will retain the current timetable of half-hourly crossings and will also seek bidders views on potential improvements to harbour infrastructure at both ends of the route.
“We want this new contract to provide greater support to the communities that rely on this important transport link. By bringing more resilient vessels to the route and continuing to invest in harbour infrastructure, we hope to make tangible improvements to the service and continue to support the economy in Inverclyde.”