Economic Affairs Minister Urve Palo said she is disappointed that the state-owned Port of Tallinn did not participate in a procurement to provide domestic ferry services, with only the current providers submitting an offer.
“I currently do not know and will not speculate if the current bidder qualifies. If the bidder does not meet requirements we of course have a plan B,” she said on Monday, adding that if the bid qualifies she will have no choice but to sign a 10-year contract to provide domestic ferry services between Hiiumaa, Saaremaa and the mainland.
The port said it could not find a builder for four ferries in such a short time, as the procurement requires a bidder to own four ferries by October 1, 2016, when the contract begins.
“I am very disappointed that the Port of Tallinn did not take part today, despite the head of the supervisory board and management representatives promising, even through media, to participate,” Palo said.
Palo's predecessor, Juhan Parts, proposed the idea of the state building and owning four ferries, and organize tenders for each different route. He said it would save the state money on passenger transport subsidies and would open up the market for more competition in a current situation of just one large company, Väinamere Liinid, which has operated the routes since 1994.