Two of the companies vying for this summer’s new North Boats contract have pulled out of the race for the job. Pentland Ferries Ltd and Sea Cargo are no longer bidding to provide the lifeline service to and from Shetland.
Their decision leaves just four companies in the running for the new contract, which is scheduled to begin in July.
Pentland Ferries Ltd offers crossings to and from the north of Scotland for cars and passengers. The company had only wanted to operate a route between Orkney and Caithness.
Sea-Cargo runs a once-a-week freight service from Tananger in Norway to Aberdeen and to Immingham. It recently gained a foothold in Shetland when it bought a controlling interest in the freight firm Northwards. However it, too, has opted not to continue in the process.
In a statement to The Shetland Times a spokesman for the government’s transport agency Transport Scotland said: “The Northern Isles contract tender continues and remains on time for renewal when the current contract expires this summer.”
The four remaining candidates shortlisted for the six-year contract are NorthLink, former Orkney and Shetland ferry operator P&O Ferries, international services firm Serco and Shetland Line, which currently operates the government’s freight contract for Orkney and Shetland.