Inquiry call into ferry contract award

THE Rail, Maritime and Transport union has called for an inquiry into the awarding of the NorthLink ferry contract to Serco following claims the losing state-owned operator lodged a lower bid.

A NorthLink ferry at Stromness Harbour, Orkney. Picture: TSPL

The union said the “murky events cast a shadow” over the battle for the next CalMac contract, being fought by Serco and David MacBrayne.

MacBrayne is the Scottish Government-owned parent company of both CalMac and the former NorthLink operator.

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Streamline Shipping, another NorthLink bidder, is suing the Scottish Government in the Court of Session over its handling of the tender process.

Government agency Transport Scotland said the tender process in 2012 was “fair, balanced and properly conducted within strict procurement rules.”

Its spokesman said MacBrayne’s bid “simply did not meet the required quality score and consequently was failed.”