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Strangford-Portaferry Ferry Service

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 19 November 1997

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:To Ask the secretary of state for northern Ireland what progress has been made on the replacement of the MV Portaferry vessel used on the Strangford-Portaferry service. [15667]

:responsibility for the subject in question has been delegated to the Roads Service under its Chief Executive Mr.W. McCoubrey. I Have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from V. Crawford to Mr. Eddie McGrady dated 17 November 1997:

The Secretary of State has asked the chief Executive to respond to your recently tabled Parliamentary question about progress on the replacement of the MV Portaferry vessel used on the Strangford Lough ferry service. In Mr McCoubrey's absence, I am replying.

Invitation to Negotiate documents were issued on 4 July 1997 to 4 companies who prequalified under the Private Finance Initiative process. Three of the companies subsequently withdrew from the bidding process although we are confident the remaining company will submit its bid by the due return date in December 1997. Assuming this bid represents value for money against the public sector comparator, we expect that the contract for the operation of the ferry service will be awarded in the Spring of 1998 with the replacement ferry becoming available about a year later. The timing of the replacement vessel will depend on whether a refurbished or new ferry is to be provided.
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