The provincial government says the process it used in awarding a $51-million shipbuilding contract to a Norwegian company ensured “absolute best value” based on several factors.
The response to questions posed by The Telegram follows recent criticism from the head of a design company in Mount Pearl.
An artists' conception of a new ferry for the Fogo Island run. — Submitted photo
He felt the province shut out local companies by not electing to subdivide tenders related to the new ferry for Fogo Island and Change Islands. Damen Shipyards won the contract.
Leonard Pecore, president of Genoa Design International Ltd., told The Telegram Tuesday that the Department of Transportation and Works should have allowed local companies to bid on components of the overall project, instead of awarding the project to one entity.
He also felt the procurement process did not fall in line with the Progressive Conservative party’s Blue Book, which said government “would examine ways to subdivide tenders so local firms are able to bid on components they are capable of doing without being shut out by components that fall outside their range.”
In an email sent to The Telegram Thursday on behalf of Transportation and Works Minister Nick McGrath, the department said it was evaluating proposals based on four key criteria — capacity, technology, delivery time and price.
“A very important aspect of the overall process is for the shipbuilder to have ownership of the design check process and the build,” read the government statement.
Asked whether government would apply additional weight to bids involving local components, the department said it received no proposals from local shipyards (Pecore told The Telegram his company found eight bidders who expressed an interest in collaborating with Genoa Design).
Government added that it is premature to suggest local companies will not get work related to construction of the new ferry.
“Damen recognizes we have a vibrant ocean technology sector here — they have toured these facilities — and they are very interested in exploring business opportunities around this sector.”
As to whether it would consider subdividing tenders for other ferries built as party of government’s vessel replacement strategy, the department said that while it would like to see new ferries built in Newfoundland and Labrador, it must also “make sound fiscal decisions.”