CalMac parent company wins MoD port deal

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The parent company of CalMac Ferries Ltd has won a contract to run one of the UK’s busiest military ports as part of a joint venture.

David MacBrayne Ltd (DML) and global logistics firm GBA (Holdings) Ltd, operating as Solent Gateway Ltd, have been awarded a 35-year deal to manage military movements through Marchwood Military Port in Hampshire.

The 225-acre facility on Southampton Water has been used for the movement of troops and equipment since 1943, and is also extensively used as a berth by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in support of the Royal Navy.

CalMac Ferries Ltd is currently preparing its bid to run Clyde and Hebrides ferry services for a further eight years from 2016, in competition with private firm Serco Caledonian Ferries Ltd.

Martin Dorchester, DML’s managing director, said: “We are delighted with this news which reinforces David MacBrayne’s credentials as an internationally recognised operation able to compete successfully in the global market place.

“It is an ideal extension of our current skills and experience of running ports across the west coast. While our core service will be managing a port that will continue to meet the military’s requirements, we look forward to working with GBA to maximise the commercial potential of Marchwood.”

GBA’s managing director, Captain Sam Judah MBE, said, “We are delighted to be awarded this prestigious contract to run the Port of Marchwood. Its location and infrastructure are second to none and we will be using all our expertise and experience to ensure that existing services are delivered to the highest standard to maintain defence capabilities.

Solent Gateway Ltd will start operating Marchwood from April 2016.

Derek Mackay MSP, Scotland’s minister for transport and islands, said: “I congratulate David MacBrayne Limited, as part of Solent Gateway Ltd, on winning this contract. This is an excellent example of a Scottish company with a strong public service ethos succeeding in a competitive marketplace.”