The procurement of the next generation Northern Isles Ferry Services contract is has been revealed in a written answer to a Parliamentary Question by Gail Ross, the Member of Scottish Parliament for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross.
The contract, worth an estimated £370m, will run for eight years and all routes will be tendered as a single bundle.
The Invitation To Tender documents will be issued early in the New Year, with a view to awarding the contract in Summer 2019.
Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, said the services played a vital role. He said;
“I want to make sure that we provide the best possible transport links for the communities that depend on them.
“The publication of the contract notice starts the procurement of the next Northern Isles Ferry Services contract in earnest, inviting interest from potential operators.
“All the routes will be tendered as a single bundle and all existing vessels will be made available to the successful bidder.”