Caledonian MacBrayne has emerged as the sole bidder in the competition to run the Clyde and Hebrides ferry services.
The route was put out to tender to comply with EU rules
BBC Scotland has learned that V Ships, the only private company left in the bidding process, has withdrawn.
Isle of Man-based V Ships said the tender details were too restrictive to allow them to provide more efficient services on the route.
Companies were competing for the right to run 25 services from 2007 after the routes were put out to tender.
The Scottish Executive, which owns CalMac, said the tendering process was required under EU rules.
There were 17 expressions of interest in the first phase of the tendering process for the routes, currently operated by CalMac.
V Ships is one of the world's biggest ship management companies, servicing a fleet of more than 600 vessels.
It has about 22,500 sea staff and employs a further 1,100 people in offices in 26 countries.
SNP transport spokesman Fergus Ewing said his party had warned the Scottish Executive would be a "fiasco".
He said: "It's now quite clear their tendering process is a shambles with tens of millions of taxpayers' money being wasted."
Tory transport spokesman David Davidson accused Liberal Democrat ministers Tavish Scott and Nicol Stephen of "gross administrative incompetence" and said they had a cavalier attitude to public funds.
Both should "consider their positions very carefully," said Mr Davidson.
"We have known for some time that the private sector had lost faith in the ability of ministers to conduct a fair and transparent tendering exercise, with companies dropping out on a regular basis," he said.