Sydney Ferries tests appetite from bidders

Australia´s New South Wales government has issued a call for expressions of interest from the private sector to maintain and operate Sydney Ferries. A consortium of Transfield Services and Veolia Transdev has already said it will bid for the contract.

Australia’s New South Wales government has issued a call for expressions of interest from private sector partners interested in maintaining and running Sydney Ferries, the state-owned ferry operator.

“The expressions of interest stage will be used to identify which companies will be short-listed to participate in a tender process later this year,” explained transport minister Gladys Berejiklian. “I look forward to seeing what ideas the best and brightest firms in the private sector can come up with as we move towards a ferry service that puts the needs of customers first,” she added.

In a statement, the New South Wales authorities explained that the government will retain ownership of the ferries and accompanying shipyard, which will be leased to the private sector. It added that fares will be set by the government and that the authorities “will retain full control over contracted routes and service levels”. The private sector will also be responsible for maintaining the fleet.

The government said it expects expressions of interest by July 29 and hopes to have a new operator in place by the end of 2012.

Late in June, transport services firms Transfield Services and Veolia Transdev announced that they had teamed up to bid for Sydney Ferries. The team already has a long history of joint bidding. A former Transfield Services and Transdev joint venture, TransdevTSL, ran Brisbane City Ferries, Sydney´s Shorelink buses and Melbourne´s Yarra Trams.