Serco Group plc (Serco), the international service company, announces today, that it has been selected as preferred bidder by Transport Scotland for a new contract to deliver lifeline ferry services to the Northern Isles. The contract, which is expected to be signed in the coming months and is due to start in Summer 2012, has a total estimated value of approximately £350m over six years.
Under the contract Serco will operate the ferry services for freight and passengers between the Scottish mainland and the Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands, providing essential access and supplies for the islanders. The staff employed by the current operator NorthLink are expected to transfer to the new service under TUPE regulations.
Serco will work in partnership with local stakeholders and with Transport Scotland to improve service standards by more effectively meeting the needs of islanders, businesses and the increasing number of visitors to the Northern Isles whilst delivering better value for money for the taxpayer. This contract will build on Serco's experience of managing and transforming critical local transport services such as Northern Rail, Scatsta Airport on the Shetland Islands and London's Woolwich Ferry. Serco also has extensive operations in the international marine market including services for the Royal Navy through which it operates more ships under the UK flag than any other company.
Christopher Hyman, Chief Executive of Serco Group, said: "We are delighted to have been chosen by Transport Scotland for this crucial lifeline ferry service. By bringing our proven transport and marine expertise, our approach will enable us to improve the service to customers whilst delivering good value for the taxpayer. This contract adds to our strong presence in Scotland supporting the improved delivery of public services. We look forward to continuing our track record in delivering better and more customer-led transport services for users and delivering efficiencies for our customer."