CalMac Likely to Secure Ferry Route

Friday, March 10, 2006
State-owned ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne has been announced as the preferred bidder for the service to Orkney and Shetland from the mainland. The contract was re-advertised two years ago after current operators NorthLink had financial problems. More than $134.5 million in public money was spent keeping the service afloat. According to BBC News, the new service would introduce reduced freight tariffs, a new container system for livestock and more berths. NorthLink, a company jointly owned by CalMac and the Royal Bank of Scotland, is expected to handover the service to CalMac in the summer. Under the six year contract, Orkney will see a 19% reduction in freight tariffs, while Shetland's rates will reduce by 25%. Bids for the ferry route had been submitted by V-Ships UK Ltd and CalMac. Irish Continental Ferries were also initially short-listed. (Source: BBC News)

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