Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd intends to award the contract to the Cemre Marin Endustri shipyard in Turkey, following a 10 day standstill period.
The new vessels will bring an almost 40% increase vehicle and freight capacity on the Islay routes, a reduction in emissions and improve the resilience of the wider fleet.
The first vessel is expected to be delivered by October 2024 and will enter service following sea trials and crew familiarisation. The second vessel will follow in early 2025.
Jim Anderson, Director of Vessels at CMAL said:
“Identifying a preferred bidder is a big step forward in the project to provide new vessels for Islay and Jura. All four shipyards submitted compelling bids, but with robust assessment of technical and financial criteria, Cemre Marin Endustri was the winner.
“We will now enter a 10 day standstill period before finalising the contract, at which point we will work closely with the yard to move on to the next stage of the procurement.”
Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth said:
“I’m very pleased to see CMAL name the preferred bidder for this vital project, which will see two new ferries built to serve the Islay routes.
“These links are some of the busiest services for freight on the Clyde and Hebrides network and the new vessels will help to grow the island’s economy, as well as bring added resilience to the fleet.
“This underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to bringing in new ferries to support our island communities. We want to continue to see progress on bringing vessels into service on time and budget.
“We look forward to continuing to work with key stakeholders to develop programmes for major vessels and small vessels – investing at least £580 million as part of our Infrastructure Investment Plan.”
Robbie Drummond, Managing Director of CalMac, said:
“We very much look forward to welcoming these two new vessels into the CalMac fleet. This will help us deliver a service we can all be proud of”.