Review of ferry tendering welcomed
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.’