Long-term stable conditions for passengers, trade and industry, as well as long-term sustainability for the economy and the environment, are the objectives as the Swedish Transport Administration now invites tenders for the ferry service to the island of Gotland - Gotlandstrafiken. To achieve these objectives the Swedish Transport Administration wants greater competition in the procurement process, which will be achieved by an extended period of agreement and less micro management.
The new agreement for Gotlandstrafiken will run for ten years, starting in February 2017. Traffic will run all year round, with basically two daily return journeys Visby – Nynäshamn and one daily return journey Visby – Oskarshamn. The tender documents, which the Swedish Transport Administration presented on Friday, do not specify or regulate the service in detail; instead a number of minimum requirements have been set.
"I believe that we will achieve better quality while simultaneously achieving a more environmentally friendly service as well as lower costs, if the bidders have the opportunity to present traffic solutions which we can compare in the evaluation of tenders", says Gunnar Malm, Director General of the Swedish Transport Administration. "It is not, therefore, possible to give an exact answer as to how Gotlandstrafiken will be structured after 2017."
The Swedish Transport Administration requires basic frequency of service and a maximum crossing time. The requirements are equivalent to those in the previous procurement. This facilitates a changed traffic structure allowing for a more flexible timetable which may be adapted to goods logistics, continued good possibilities for same-day-returns with a stay of at least 8 hours, as well as the option of an earlier evening arrival in Visby. There are also requirements for the total capacity, meeting the demands for an increase in travel at levels substantially higher than the historical development would suggest.
"There is nothing to prevent bidders from presenting solutions which exceed the minimum requirements, in terms of crossing time for example", says Gunnar Malm. "Too high minimum requirements would reduce the possibility of competition in the procurement process. My starting point is to create more businesslike conditions."
In order to guarantee a reasonable price level for residents, trade and industry on Gotland, a maximum price will be established for both residents of Gotland and for goods traffic. The new agreement will be a service concession" which means that the operator receives a fixed compensation from the State and retains ticket revenues, a model which provides greater incentives for increasing travel. The existing agreement with Destination Gotland, which was to terminate at the end of 2015, has been extended with a short term agreement for another two years. The State's cost for Gotlandstrafiken is currently approximately SEK 420 million per year.