CalMac contract extended as Government continues to consider direct award

The Scottish Government announced last year its preferred route for the future contract would be a direct award to CalMac.

CalMac contract extended as Government continues to consider direct award PA Media

The contract for Government-owned ferry operator CalMac to run services on Scotland’s west coast has been extended by a year.

The move comes as the Scottish Government continues to consider a direct award to CalMac for the next deal on the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service (CHFS) network – which is the current preferred path – rather than accepting bids from rival firms.

The contract was due to expire on September 30 but the extra year will allow further work on the potential direct award to be undertaken.

Transport Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “While good progress has been made on the due diligence related to a proposed direct award to CalMac, it will not be possible to conclude all of the processes by the 30th September, which is the end date of the current contract.

“We have made arrangements to extend the existing contract for 12 months. This will allow the due diligence process to robustly conclude and, subject to the outcome of that process, a final decision to be made on a direct contract award.

“I will provide a further update to Parliament later this year on progress and on timings for decision-making within the extended period.”

Duncan Mackison, the interim chief executive of CalMac, welcomed the news.

He said: “CalMac is full of dedicated people who are passionate about delivering a reliable service for island communities.

“With six new major vessels due to join the fleet by 2026 and significant infrastructure upgrades at numerous ports and harbours under way or planned, we are confident that lifeline ferry services will continue to improve.

“During the extension period, we will be working hard to provide certainty and reliability, and listening closely to the views of local people who rely on our services most.”

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