Scotland’s Pentland Ferries has lost its appeal against Scottish government state aid for ferry services between the mainland and the Northern Isles, currently operated by Serco NorthLink Ferries.
Three companies are tendering for a new £370 million contract for this service – Serco NorthLink Ferries, CalMac Ferries and Germany’s Förde Reederei Seetouristik (FRS).
Pentland Ferries operates a single vessel service with the 346-passenger and 70-car capacity catamaran Pentalina on the route between Gills Bay and St Margaret’s Hope on Orkney. This 2008-built vessel will be replaced this June by the much delayed and larger all-steel catamaran Alfred.
In expressing frustration at the Court of Session ruling Pentland Ferries said:”We are extremely disappointed with today’s decision and will now take some time to reflect and decide on our next steps. All we are asking for as a family-owned, subsidy-free local business is to be allowed to operate on a level playing field. We are not asking for the Stromness to Scrabster route to be abandoned, nor are we requiring for any funding for ourselves.