Re­view of ferry ten­der­ing wel­comed

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

MAR­ITIME pro­fes­sion­als’ union Nau­tilus In­ter­na­tional has wel­comed a de­ci­sion by the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to re­view the need to put life­line ferry ser­vices out to ten­der in the fu­ture.

An­nounc­ing the move, trans­port min­is­ter Humza Yousaf said he wanted to ex­am­ine the le­gal, pol­icy and fi­nan­cial im­pli­ca­tions af­fect­ing the pro­cure­ment of key Scot­tish ferry ser­vices to is­lands and re­mote com­mu­ni­ties.

Fol­low­ing feed­back from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, Humza Yousaf said the re­view would as­sess whether Scot­tish fer­ries could be cov­ered by the ‘Teckal ex­emp­tion’ which en­ables some ser­vices to be op­er­ated by an in-house provider with­out the need for com­pet­i­tive ten­der­ing.

Com­ment­ing on the an­nounce­ment by the trans­port min­is­ter of a pol­icy re­view to con­sider in de­tail what this means for the le­gal and other im­pli­ca­tions of the pro­cure­ment of ferry ser­vices and that Clyde and He­brides ferry ser­vices may be ex­empt from ten­der­ing, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Leader An­gus Camp­bell said: ‘We very much wel­come this devel­op­ment. Whilst it has taken a long time to reach this stage, it is pleas­ing to hear our is­land ferry ser­vices may no longer need to go out to ten­der, al­low­ing more re­sources to be spent on ser­vices rather than ex­pen­sive ten­der­ing pro­cesses.’

Nau­tilus gen­eral sec­re­tary Mark Dick­in­son said: ‘ We have al­ways main­tained the ten­der process was costly and un­set­tling for our mem­bers and the com­mu­ni­ties they serve.’

Mr Dick­in­son said he re­mained op­ti­mistic the trans­port min­is­ter will find a way for­ward ‘ which negates the need for a ten­der and keeps the life­line ferry ser­vices of Scot­land in pub­lic hands, serv­ing the com­mu­ni­ties that rely on these life­line ser­vices and re­wards the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of the Bri­tish sea­far­ers who serve these com­mu­ni­ties.’

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