Serco to takeover Orkney and Shetland ferry routes from Northlink

NORTHLINK has lost its bid to retain the Scottish Government’s Northern Isles ferry contract to rivals Serco.

• Serco to operate Orkney and Shetland routes for six years

• Reservations made through Northlink will be honoured by Serco

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• Transoprt minister Keith Brown promises improvements to Northern Isles ferry service

The marine firm will take over the routes to Orkney and Shetland for six years from this summer.

Transport minister Keith Brown promised service improvements as he named Serco as preferred bidder for the £243 million contract today.

He said: “Passengers will see improvements to the journey experience with improved ticketing arrangements, premium reclining seats added on board overnight services, and improved catering, hospitality and customer care facilities.

“Crucially, clear commitments that crossing times, including the 90 minute crossing between Scrabster and Stromness, will also be retained.”

Reservations made with NorthLink will be honoured by Serco, whose marine work includes the Woolwich Ferry and Royal Navy contracts