Cheaper fares to and from Kangaroo Island are on the cards with three companies shortlisted to bid for the running of ferry services between KI and mainland South Australia.
Late last year the Marshall Liberal Government called for Expressions of Interest from companies to run the ROPAX (roll-on, roll-off vehicles and passenger) ferry services between Penneshaw on the island and Cape Jervis on the mainland for up to 25 years.
The aim is to promote economic growth, tourism, private investment and trade on KI, increase employment opportunities on the island and ensure the ferry service provides reliability, high levels of customer service and value for money for locals, businesses and visitors.
Three companies, Kangaroo Island SeaLink Pty Ltd, Peninsula Searoad Transport Pty Ltd and Kinetic Holding Company Pty Ltd/Oceanex consortium have progressed to the Invitation to Supply (ITS) phase.
The contract will be for an initial 15-year period with a further two five-year extensions based on the successful company meeting a strict set of criteria, including high levels of service performance.
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Corey Wingard, said the process is about ensuring we get the best deal for South Australians and that Kangaroo Islanders and those that visit the island get the best service possible.
“SeaLink currently provide a valued service to the island but this process is to ensure we get the highest quality service possible for locals and tourists in the future,” Minister Wingard said.
“It will also provide certainty tor the successful tenderer to allow them to plan their business to continue growing and improving this vital service.
“We will now progress to the next phase of this procurement process which will allow us to continue to drive and improve this vital service.”
All conforming submissions in the Expression of Interest stage of the process were evaluated on criteria that included customer, community and tourism service offerings and experience; operational and asset management capability; and working with government and stakeholders.
The ITS process will run until September/October and the contract is aimed to be awarded by the end of the year.
The Department for Infrastructure and Transport has established a dedicated Kangaroo Island Ferry Service (KIFS) program team, with specialist advisors, to ensure the best outcomes for the people and businesses of South Australia.
Kangaroo Island SeaLink has been providing ferry services between the island and the mainland since 1995, following the State Government’s withdrawal from providing services to and from KI.
The current service is provided under an agreement, which has been extended on multiple occasions, between the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and SeaLink, which enables priority berthing rights for Sealink and the Penneshaw and Cape Jervis harbours.
The current agreement expires on 30 June, 2024.