Procurement Appeal Committee Turns Down Ferry Case ({{commentsTotal}})

Port of Tallinn
Port of Tallinn Source: (ERR)

The public procurement appeals committee decided to not hear the appeal of the largest domestic ferry route operator after its sole bid was disqualified last month.

The appeals committee said that Väinamere Liinid, which has operated the western island routes for years, was not able to substantiate that it had, or had access to, at least 5 million euros to secure performance of contract.

A letter from Swedbank that accompanied the bid stated that the bank did not take any binding obligations.

"The tenderer has submitted conditional representations that do not meet the conditions stated in the contract documents," read the decision from the committee.

The shipping line, which is nearly synonymous with the name of magnate Vjatšeslav Leedo and Saaremaa Laevakompanii, also did not submit confirmation that it owned four ferries or had the right to use them, said the committee.

The bone of contention is the fourth ferry. Otherwise, the company would have three ferries as of 2016, when the new 10-year contract begins.

The tender round for the contract for ferry operator between the mainland and western islands originally only drew a bid from Väinamere Liinid, but the ministry decided that the company's bid should not be qualified, and proceeded to negotiate with a state shipping company, Port of Tallinn.

Politicians in a previous administration had pushed for nationalization of the ferry routes as a vital service, and some saw the Port of Tallinn's entry as accomplishing this purpose. Backers of nationalization had criticized the idea to hold a tender process, saying it would be "just for show."