Nfld. & Labrador

Liberals ask why cheaper option not taken for building ferries

The Liberals are questioning why the Newfoundland and Labrador government didn't go with the lowest bidders for the Fogo Island and Bell Island ferries.
Transportation Minister David Brazil said the government recently turned down a request from Humber Valley Paving to have $1.8 million returned to the company. (CBC)

The Liberals are questioning why the Newfoundland and Labrador government didn't go with the lowest bidders for two new provincial ferries.

Damen Shipyards in Romania will be paid $50 million to build ferries for Fogo Island and Bell Island.

The Liberals said at least three other companies bid less than Damen, which led them to question why the government went with a more expensive option.

Liberal transportation critic Tom Osborne wondered why other ships are being built at those shipyards but they weren't good enough to build ferries for this province.

"Some of these companies with proposals much less are building vessels for other provinces in Canada, and in fact for commercial entities right here in this province," Osborne said. 

"Is he saying these shipyards aren't building quality vessels?"

The Liberals said one of the three bids came at half the cost of what the province is paying for the ships.

Best investment

Transportation Minister David Brazil explained why the province didn't go for the cheapest price during Monday's question period in the House of Assembly.

"We're getting the best value for our investment here, it's not only about the price lines" he said.

"Some of the companies that bid lower prices didn't make the cut Mr. Speaker, they didn't make the cut because the evaluation looked at the service being provided."

Last week, CBC News revealed that the province may have to pay an extra $25-million tariff to the federal government because it ordered the ferries from a country that doesn't have a free trade agreement with Canada.



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