[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 7 September 2006, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Ferry firm unveils new investment
Sound of Sanda ferry (picture by Undiscovered Scotland)
The Sound of Sanda ferry sails from McInroy's Point at Gourock
Western Ferries has unveiled a 4m investment in improving berthing and terminal facilities on its Gourock to Dunoon route.

The company said this would involve new linkspans, increased car parking and improved passenger facilities.

It said the plans would proceed regardless of the outcome of tendering for the parallel Cal Mac route, which the firm has been bidding for.

Opposition parties have raised doubts about the tendering process.

They said the Western Ferries move was an indication that confidence in the process was collapsing.

However, a Scottish Executive spokesman gave an assurance that all bids were being assessed with scrupulous fairness.

Western Ferries has declined to comment on the claims.

Potential bidders

It has run a commercial operation between Gourock and Dunoon for 30 years, competing against Cal Mac's subsidised service.

The two companies, and rival bidder V Ships, were invited to tender for that service in July.

Scottish National Party spokesman Jim Mather said he has raised concerns over the competence and integrity of the tendering process

Conservative spokesman David Davidson said several potential bidders had complained to him about its handling.

Strong interest in CalMac routes
15 Nov 05 |  Scotland
CalMac tender plans win backing
14 Sep 05 |  Scotland
CalMac tender plans to go ahead
13 Sep 05 |  Scotland


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific