Serco, the international service company, has been selected as preferred bidder to continue managing and operating the lifeline Northern Isles Ferry Services for passengers and freight between the Scottish mainland and the Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands. 

There is currently a mandatory standstill period following the appointment decision.  The new contract will ensure continuity of service, is anticipated to start in the fourth quarter and has a total estimated revenue value to Serco of approximately £450m over the initial six-year term.  There is an option for Scottish Ministers to extend the contract for a further two years, valued at a further £160m.

Rupert Soames, Serco Group Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this contract by Scottish Ministers.  We are very proud of our track record over the past seven years, during which time we have improved almost every aspect of the lifeline service for the communities and businesses of the Northern Isles, while also reducing materially the annual subsidy and thereby reducing the burden on the Scottish taxpayer.  We look forward to further improving the service in the coming years.”