Sydney ferries purchase faces delay after NSW government rejects local bidders

A ferry in Sydney Harbour (Photo: Transdev)

The purchase of seven new commuter ferries that will operate on Sydney’s Parramatta River has been delayed due to the New South Wales government’s rejection of local shipbuilders that had applied to participate in the tender.

Transport for NSW said no contract has been awarded to any of the builders that participated in the tender for new ferries slated to replace an existing fleet of vessels that are now over 30 years old.

The state transport agency explained that the rejection was due to the market response failing to satisfy evaluation criteria, though it is re-engaging with interested parties following a recent review of the current procurement strategy.

The NSW government had earlier invited builders to submit their proposals from late November 2022 to mid-January. However, local builder EV Maritime told the Sydney Morning Herald that serious bidders encountered difficulty in compliance during the six-week period, which also coincided with the Christmas holidays.

Labor Party transport spokeswoman Jo Haylen criticised the rejection, saying that the Liberal Party had failed to fulfill its earlier promise that the seven new ferries would be constructed locally. NSW Transport Minister David Elliott nonetheless assured that the state government had directed that the vessels be built in Australia.


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