The procurement of a new ferry to help support the community and economy on Islay is officially underway.
The first stage of the tender process will assess if interested shipyards meet the technical and financial criteria to take on the project.
The Invitation To Tender is expected to be issued later this summer with a view to awarding the contract, with an estimated value of around £50m, in March 2022.
The start of the procurement follows engagement with key stakeholders and members of the local community on the design of the new ferry.
Minister for Transport Graeme Dey said:
“I’m pleased to announce the process to build a new ferry for Islay is formally underway.
“The route is one of the busiest services for freight on the Clyde and Hebrides network and this new vessel 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 look forward to continuing to work with key stakeholders to develop programmes for major vessels and small vessels – investing at least £580 million over the next five years.”
Jim Anderson, Director of Vessels at Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), said:
“Reaching the procurement stage is the culmination of robust project planning over the past eighteen months, including vessel requirements, detailed concept design options and feasibility studies and analysis, as well as regular engagement with community representatives and islanders.
“This marks an important step forward in bringing a new vessel to Islay and Jura. It is one of several new vessel and harbour upgrade projects we are currently progressing to improve the resilience of ferry services for island communities.”
CalMac’s Managing Director Robbie Drummond said:
“We welcome the addition of a new Islay vessel. This will provide much needed additional capacity on the route to support the economic growth of the island.
“We will continue to work closely with Transport Scotland and CMAL to ensure we have the vessels to deliver the service needs of the community.”