DOCUMENT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE
The choice issued on the date beneath was topic to a GAO Protecting Order. This redacted model has been authorised for public launch.
Matter of: Seaward Companies, Inc.
File: B-420580; B-420580.2
Date: June 13, 2022
Michael L. Waldman, Esq., Deneen J. Melander, Esq., and Leslie C. Esbrook, Esq., Kramer Levin Neftalis & Frankel, LLP d/b/a Kramer Levin Robbins Russel, for the protester.
Howard W. Roth, Esq., Jedidiah Okay. Blake, Esq., and Nicole Wolf, Esq., Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker, LLP, for TOTE Companies, LLC, an intervenor.
Davis Younger, Esq., Patrick Mayette, Esq., DJ Thornley, Esq., Ann Caroline M. Calabrese, Esq., Courtney E. Corridor, Esq., and James L. Johnsen, Esq., Division of the Navy, for the company.
Scott H. Riback, Esq., and Tania Calhoun, Esq., Workplace of the Common Counsel, GAO, participated within the preparation of the choice.
Protest difficult company’s analysis of proposals and supply choice resolution is sustained the place report exhibits that company’s analysis and supply choice was unreasonable and never per the phrases of the solicitation.
Seaward Companies, Inc. (SSI), of Norfolk, Virginia, protests the award of a contract to TOTE Companies, LLC, of Jacksonville, Florida, underneath request for proposals (RFP) No. N32205-20-R-3004, issued by the Division of the Navy, Navy Sealift Command, for companies in reference to the worldwide operation, upkeep and restore of the USNS Guam. SSI maintains that the company unreasonably evaluated proposals and made an unreasonable supply choice resolution.
We maintain the protest.
The RFP contemplates the award of a fixed-price contract on a best-value tradeoff foundation for a 1-year base interval and 4 1-year choices. Corporations had been suggested that the company would consider proposals and make award based mostly on worth, in addition to a number of non-price components. The non-price components had been divided amongst a number of move/fail concerns (not related to the protest points), and two “tradeoff” components, technical strategy and previous efficiency (deemed comparatively equal in significance); the 2 non-price “tradeoff” components collectively had been deemed considerably extra necessary than worth. RFP at 212-218.
The company obtained proposals from SSI and TOTE. The company evaluated the proposals, engaged in two rounds of discussions, and solicited, obtained and evaluated closing proposal revisions. After finishing its analysis, the company assigned the next scores:
Company Report (AR) Exh. 63, Supply Choice Resolution Doc (SSDD), at 4. On the premise of those analysis outcomes, the company made award to TOTE, discovering that its proposal represented the very best worth to the federal government. After being suggested of the choice resolution and requesting and receiving a debriefing, SSI filed this protest.
The USNS Guam, the ship that the profitable contractor will function, preserve and restore right here, is a big, high-speed transport vessel with a catamaran (twin) hull constructed of aluminum, categorized as an expeditionary quick transport craft able to sustained, high-speed journey in an open ocean setting. Due to its distinctive traits, the RFP particularly offered for analysis of the offerors’ expertise and previous efficiency in reference to working and sustaining aluminum-hulled vessels. SSI’s allegations are confined to the analysis of proposals on this space.
Broadly talking, SSI–the incumbent for the solicited requirement–maintains that the company unreasonably evaluated proposals as they relate to the offerors’ respective expertise and previous efficiency working and sustaining giant, high-speed ocean-going aluminum-hulled craft.
We focus on SSI’s allegations intimately beneath, however observe on the outset that, in reviewing protests of an company’s analysis and supply choice resolution, our Workplace is not going to reevaluate proposals; somewhat, we evaluation the report to find out whether or not the analysis and supply choice resolution are affordable and per the solicitation’s analysis standards, and relevant procurement legal guidelines and laws. Science Purposes Worldwide Company, B-420005, B-420005.2, Oct. 21, 2021, 2021 CPD ¶ 372 at 5. Whereas we is not going to substitute our judgment for that of the company, we are going to maintain a protest the place the company’s conclusions are inconsistent with the solicitation’s analysis standards and relevant procurement statutes and laws, or in any other case not moderately based mostly. Id.
We conclude that the company unreasonably evaluated proposals underneath the technical analysis issue, however moderately evaluated the offerors’ previous efficiency. Earlier than discussing our conclusions intimately, we observe that the company ready an extensively redacted report that included solely chosen paperwork and, inside these chosen paperwork, solely very circumscribed parts thereof. Whereas our Bid Protest Rules, 4 C.F.R. § 21.3(d), solely require businesses to provide paperwork in response to a protest which can be related to the allegations raised, an company’s overly aggressive effort to restrict doc manufacturing can, as right here, frustrate the mandate of the Competitors in Contracting Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3551-3557, for our Workplace to meaningfully resolve bid protests. Due to the shortage of an ample report within the instantaneous case, our Workplace can not conclude that the company’s analysis, and by extension its supply choice resolution, had been affordable. CALNET, Inc., B-413386.2, B-413386.3, Oct. 28, 2016, 2016 CPD ¶ 318 at 9 n.10; CORTEK, Inc., B‑412047, et al., Dec. 17, 2015, 2015 CPD ¶ 397 at 3.
Technical Method Analysis
The RFP specified that the company would consider the technical strategy issue as a single issue, however recognized 4 areas that may be included within the analysis. RFP at 215. These areas had been technical administration strategy; staffing strategy; coaching plan; and aluminum expertise. Id. at 215-216. SSI’s protest pertains to the analysis of the offerors’ respective aluminum expertise.
SSI argues that it has in depth expertise working, sustaining and repairing giant high-speed ocean-going aluminum-hulled craft, such because the USNS Guam. In distinction, SSI alleges that TOTE has no expertise working, sustaining or repairing giant high-speed ocean-going aluminum-hulled craft. In mild of this alleged disparity within the corporations’ respective expertise, SSI argues that the company unreasonably discovered the proposals comparatively equal underneath the technical strategy issue and assigned each proposals scores of fine. SSI maintains that the analysis fails to seize the sharp distinction between the corporations’ comparative aluminum expertise, and subsequently is unreasonable.
We maintain this facet of SSI’s protest.
The RFP offered as follows with respect to the analysis of aluminum expertise:
Aluminum Expertise [:]
i. Offeror offered an in depth narrative that describes their aluminum operation, upkeep and restore expertise.
ii. For analysis functions, expertise with aluminum hull materials could also be thought of a energy.
RFP at 216.
The report exhibits that SSI’s proposal included an in depth description of its expertise working, sustaining and repairing giant, high-speed ocean-going aluminum-hulled craft. Of observe, SSI’s proposal described its expertise working, sustaining and repairing, amongst different craft, three explicit ships, the HSC Westpac Specific, the HSC Alakai (a “sister” ship to the USNS Guam) and the USNS Guam (the ship for which the present companies are being solicited), all of that are giant, high-speed ocean-going aluminum-hulled vessels. AR, Exh. 32, SSI Preliminary Proposal, at 27‑30; Exh. 35, SSI Revised Proposal, at 49-53. SSI offered particulars referring to each the operation of those three ships (together with a number of different aluminum-hulled craft), in addition to the upkeep and restore carried out on these ships, together with the dates and particulars surrounding efficiency of quite a few dry dock restore companies carried out on all three ships. Id.
In the end, the report exhibits that the company’s technical evaluators discovered that SSI’s proposal demonstrated vital expertise working, sustaining and repairing aluminum-hulled ships, and assigned the SSI proposal a single energy on this space. AR, Exh. 40, SSI Remaining Technical Analysis Report, at 9.
In distinction, the report exhibits that TOTE has little to no expertise with giant, excessive‑pace, ocean-going aluminum-hulled vessels. TOTE listed expertise with only one aluminum-hulled vessel, the USNS Quick Tempo, a 155-foot aluminum-hulled vessel utilized in reference to the operation and upkeep of an offshore petroleum discharge system. AR, Exh. 2, TOTE Technical Proposal, at 29. The evaluators discovered that TOTE’s expertise with the USNS Quick Tempo constituted solely “restricted operations” with aluminum-hulled vessels. AR, Exh. 3, TOTE Preliminary Technical Analysis Report, at 14. Nonetheless, the evaluators assigned TOTE’s preliminary proposal a energy for having subcontracted with a agency referred to as [deleted] to offer experience in working, sustaining and repairing aluminum-hulled vessels. Id. On the identical time, the evaluators assigned a weak point to the TOTE proposal for failing to offer particulars in regards to the scope of technical experience or reliance on [deleted].
After concluding discussions with TOTE, the technical evaluators assigned the proposal a score of fine underneath the technical strategy analysis issue, and assigned it two strengths for aluminum expertise, one for its use of [deleted] as a subcontractor and a second for the expertise of TOTE’s port supervisor based mostly on the perceived aluminum ship expertise of that particular person. AR, Exh. 10, TOTE Remaining Technical Analysis Report, at 13-14. The evaluators concluded that TOTE itself had solely restricted expertise working aluminum vessels based mostly on its expertise working the USNS Quick Tempo, and that TOTE’s proposal failed to deal with any dry docking expertise with aluminum vessels. Id. at 13.
We’ve a number of considerations with the analysis of the TOTE proposal. As famous, in assigning the primary energy, the company relied on the truth that TOTE retained [deleted] as a subcontractor, and concluded that this truth offered ample assurances that TOTE has aluminum expertise. Nevertheless, TOTE’s proposal accommodates no details about [deleted] expertise working, sustaining or repairing aluminum-hulled vessels. The knowledge in TOTE’s proposal referring to [deleted] is confined to a one-paragraph description of the varieties of communications that TOTE anticipates would happen between the 2 corporations (comparable to e-mail, voice communication and soliciting on-site experience), and a bulleted checklist of areas the place TOTE claims it may get hold of [deleted] steerage. AR, Exh. 5, TOTE Revised Proposal, at 10.
There is no such thing as a data in TOTE’s proposal demonstrating or describing what aluminum-hulled vessel expertise [deleted] has; no previous efficiency examples of contracts carried out by [deleted] the place it operated, maintained or repaired aluminum-hulled vessels; and no data of any kind to assist a conclusion that [deleted] has ever operated, maintained or repaired aluminum-hulled vessels. The truth is, the TOTE proposal–at least that portion of the proposal that has been offered to our Workplace–also doesn’t embrace a replica of the subcontracting settlement that TOTE claims to have entered into with [deleted].
In assigning the second energy, the company relied on the truth that TOTE’s proposed port engineer has expertise as a primary assistant engineer with aluminum-hulled vessels. AR, Exh. 10, TOTE Remaining Technical Analysis Report, at 14. This particular person’s resume, nevertheless, lacks any element in regards to the particular person’s expertise, or assigned duties, in relation to aluminum-hulled vessels. AR, Exh. 2, TOTE Preliminary Proposal, at 33-34.
The resume features a checklist of ships to which the person was assigned as first assistant engineer, and that checklist contains three entries that look like high-speed, ocean-going aluminum-hulled vessels: The USNS Fall River (the person was assigned to that vessel for roughly 2 months); the USNS Millinocket (the person was assigned to that ship for roughly 4 months); and the USNS Carson Metropolis (the person was assigned to that ship for roughly 3½ years). AR, Exh. 2, TOTE Preliminary Proposal, at 33. Nevertheless, the person’s duties and tasks in reference to the vessels should not described in any respect, and there’s no foundation to conclude from a evaluation of the resume that the person has any significant expertise in working, sustaining or repairing the recognized ships. Id.
In sum, the report exhibits that the company assigned TOTE’s proposal two strengths for having expertise with aluminum-hulled vessels, however a evaluation of the proposal doesn’t assist the underlying analysis conclusions. TOTE’s proposal doesn’t include any data that moderately could lead on the company to conclude that TOTE itself has any significant aluminum-hulled vessel expertise past its expertise working the USNS Quick Tempo; the evaluators characterised that have as” restricted,” and in addition famous that TOTE doesn’t have any dry dock expertise with aluminum-hulled vessels. And, as famous, TOTE’s proposal–at least the closely redacted model of it submitted by the company with its report–lacks even essentially the most primary data which may display that its obvious subcontractor, [deleted], or its port engineer, have any significant expertise working, sustaining or repairing aluminum-hulled craft.
In distinction to its analysis of the TOTE proposal, and as mentioned above, the company assigned only a single energy to the SSI proposal, however the truth that SSI introduced in depth, detailed details about its expertise working, sustaining and repairing quite a few high-speed ocean-going aluminum-hulled vessels, and extra particularly, working, sustaining and repairing the USNS Guam, the precise ship for which the solicited companies are to be offered.
On this report, we conclude that the company’s analysis was unreasonable.
As a closing matter we observe that, in the midst of responding to the protest, the company steered that the RFP didn’t require corporations to have precise expertise working, sustaining and repairing aluminum-hulled vessels. In accordance with the company, corporations had “two paths” to satisfying the RFP necessities, both having and describing their precise aluminum expertise, or adequately describing their strategy to assembly the RFP necessities. Company Report at 27-29. In accordance with the company, corporations with out ample expertise with aluminum-hulled vessels, comparable to TOTE, may fulfill the necessities of the RFP just by describing how they might meet the RFP’s necessities.
The company misreads the phrases of the solicitation. The part of the RFP relied on by the company is the directions to offerors, somewhat than the aluminum hull expertise space of the technical strategy analysis issue. The directions to offerors present as follows:
If an offeror doesn’t have expertise working or sustaining vessels comprised of aluminum hull materials, offeror shall present:
i. A story explaining how the offeror will efficiently carry out all the necessities of Part C, particularly as they relate to the distinctive nature of working and sustaining an aluminum-hulled vessel. This needs to be sufficiently detailed to display that the offeror understands and has thought of the distinctive challenges introduced by the operation and upkeep of an aluminum-hulled vessel and can have the ability to carry out this contract efficiently.
RFP at 208-209 (Directions to Offerors). In distinction, as famous above, the aluminum expertise analysis issue provides–in its entirety–as follows:
Aluminum Expertise [:]
i. Offeror offered an in depth narrative that describes their aluminum operation, upkeep and restore expertise.
ii. For analysis functions, expertise with aluminum hull materials could also be thought of a energy.
RFP at 216 (Aluminum Hull Expertise Analysis Issue).
Companies are required to guage proposals based mostly completely on the analysis components said within the solicitation. Whereas a solicitation could set up extra informational, technical, administrative, or different necessities within the directions for proposal preparation, these necessities could not correctly be thought of in reference to the analysis of proposals except these extra necessities are also specified as a foundation for proposal analysis. McCann-Erickson USA, Inc., B-414787, Sept. 18, 2017, 2017 CPD ¶ 300 at 4.
Whereas the RFP requested offerors for data referring to their expertise with aluminum-hulled vessels, or a proof of how they might meet the necessities of the RFP in the event that they lacked related expertise with aluminum-hulled vessels, the RFP’s analysis issue was confined to consideration of an offeror’s precise expertise in working, sustaining, and repairing aluminum-hulled vessels. Thus, to the extent the company now claims that its analysis was based mostly on findings referring to the adequacy of TOTE’s description of how it could meet the RFP’s necessities, such an analysis was inconsistent with the phrases of the solicitation.
However the company’s place in the course of the protest, the contemporaneous report exhibits that the SSA seems to have understood this distinction. In a memorandum to the file disagreeing with a discovering by the evaluators that TOTE failed to explain adequately its strategies of aluminum restore, the SSA famous:
I disagree with this evaluation as we didn’t ask for them to explain the strategies of aluminum restore, however their expertise with identical. TOTE has offered this data [that is, the information discussed above relating to [deleted], and TOTE’s port supervisor] and described in a normal means among the concerns that must be taken when working with aluminum.
AR, Exh. 7, SSA Memorandum to the File, at 8 (emphasis equipped).
In mild of the foregoing dialogue, we maintain this facet of SSI’s protest.
Previous Efficiency Analysis
SSI subsequent challenges the company’s analysis of previous efficiency. SSI doesn’t take subject with the substantive or qualitative findings of the previous efficiency analysis. Moderately, SSI’s problem pertains to the company’s relevancy determinations made in reference to the previous efficiency examples it reviewed. In accordance with the protester, the company unreasonably failed to seek out all of its previous efficiency examples sufficiently related, and unreasonably discovered TOTE’s previous efficiency examples related.
As with its allegations referring to the company’s analysis of proposals underneath the technical strategy issue, SSI’s problem facilities on the offerors’ previous efficiency of contracts involving aluminum-hulled craft. SSI primarily maintains that the RFP required the company to seek out any contract carried out in reference to the operation, upkeep and restore of aluminum-hulled vessels extra related, and maintains that the company erred in assigning relevancy scores based mostly on different concerns. We discover no benefit to this facet of SSI’s protest.
In reference to the relevance dedication, the RFP offered:
Relevancy Evaluation. Every current previous efficiency effort will likely be assessed for relevancy in accordance with the definitions and previous efficiency relevancy desk beneath. The Authorities could use knowledge offered within the offeror’s proposal and knowledge obtained from different sources to determine the relevancy of previous efficiency efforts.
i. Scope: The similarity of the kind of expertise (e.g., mission sort, vessel sort, hull sort, hull materials sort, related working setting) to the PWS [performance work statement].
ii. Magnitude: The similarity of the amount (e.g., variety of vessels), greenback worth, and/or period of the work carried out to the PWS.
iii. Complexity: The similarity of technical issue, managerial intricacy, and/or required coordination of duties to the PWS.
RFP at 217. SSI focuses on that portion of the language quoted above referring to hull sort and hull materials sort in assist of its place that the company essentially was required to fee any contract involving an aluminum-hulled vessel extra related than different varieties of contracts.
We’ve reviewed all of SSI’s allegations in reference to the previous efficiency analysis and conclude that the relevancy determinations had been affordable and per the relevancy concerns outlined within the RFP’s previous efficiency analysis issue. In a phrase, the report exhibits that the company thought of all the enumerated relevancy concerns outlined within the RFP, not solely these referring to hull sort and hull materials sort. Primarily based on this extra holistic evaluation of the previous efficiency examples, the report exhibits that the company made affordable determinations with respect to the relevancy of the previous efficiency examples reviewed. We focus on two examples for illustrative functions.
The report exhibits that one among SSI’s previous efficiency examples is an ongoing contract with Austal USA, a shipbuilding agency that constructs new expeditionary quick transport and littoral fight ships for the Navy. SSI’s contract with Austal is to offer officer crews to man these newly-constructed ships throughout sea trials. AR, Exh. 42, SSI Previous Efficiency Narrative, at 10-12.
The report exhibits that the company discovered this previous efficiency instance not related. Whereas the company expressly famous that the ships being crewed underneath this contract had been much like the USNS Guam (each the USNS Guam and the crewed ships had been related in dimension, hull materials and building, propulsion methods and so on.) the company decided that the mission, complexity, dimension and scope of this contract differed considerably from the solicited requirement.
For instance, the company decided that, underneath the Austal contract, SSI carried out a median of three.5 sea trials per 12 months, which the company discovered translated to roughly 28 days per 12 months for contract efficiency, in comparison with full-time operation of the USNS Guam. AR, Exh. 61, Previous Efficiency Analysis Report, at Sep 11. The company additionally discovered that the missions weren’t comparable, with the ocean trials requiring solely the availability of crews for the ships for intervals of two weeks or much less out of Austal’s Cellular, Alabama facility, in comparison with the full-time operation, upkeep and restore of the USNS Guam within the Far East. Id.
The company additional discovered that the crews performing the ocean trials for Austal had been a lot smaller than the crew required to function the USNS Guam, with the ocean trials being carried out by crews starting from 4 to 6 people, in comparison with the full-time crew of 18 people for the USNS Guam. Id. The company lastly discovered that the Austal contract was not of the identical magnitude in comparison with the solicited requirement, averaging a contract worth of simply [deleted] per 12 months, in comparison with the anticipated worth of the USNS Guam contract of roughly $22 million per 12 months. Id.
On this report, we conclude that the company’s relevancy dedication for this previous efficiency instance was affordable. The contract was a lot smaller than the solicited requirement; was carried out domestically for a a lot smaller interval of time yearly; utilized a lot smaller crews; and didn’t contain offering ship upkeep or restore companies. Whereas SSI is right that the vessels underneath the Austal contract are much like the USNS Guam, the mission dimension, scope and complexity of the contract weren’t corresponding to the mission dimension, scope or complexity of the solicited requirement.
As a second instance, the report exhibits that one among TOTE’s previous efficiency examples is an ongoing contract for working and sustaining a fleet of six quick sealift ships for the Division of Transportation’s Maritime Administration that was rated considerably related. AR, Exh. 14 TOTE Previous Efficiency Narrative.
The company decided that, though these ships differed in building from the USNS Guam (the ships are mono-hulled and constructed of metal), the contract nonetheless concerned bigger vessels (the ships are 288 meters in size, in comparison with the USNS Guam, which is 107 meters in size) with a big payload capability (the ships have the capability to hold over 700 army autos and 55 whole crew and passengers, in comparison with the USNS Guam which has a complete capability to hold 881 personnel and related gear). AR, Exh. 61, Previous Efficiency Analysis Report, at 18.
The company additionally decided that, though these ships are in a reserve working standing (in comparison with the USNS Guam, which is in a full working standing), they are often deployed worldwide at any time. AR, Exh. 61, Previous Efficiency Analysis Report, at 18. As well as, the company discovered that the administration of the fleet of ships was extra advanced than the solicited requirement, particularly concluding:
For complexity, TOTE gives ship administration companies for FSS [fast sealift ships] vessels, which incorporates upkeep, restore, OEM [original equipment manufacturer] directed repairs, modifications, inspections, lifecycle administration and shore[-]aspect workers, that are much like the necessities of the RFP. The technical issue is extra advanced because of [the fact that the] six vessels . . . make the most of steam propulsion. Steam propulsion [system maintenance] is extra advanced because of their age and better upkeep necessities. Managerial issue and coordination of duties is inherently extra advanced because of managing six vessels versus one vessel of the RFP.
Id. at 18-19. The company additionally discovered that the magnitude of the hassle was much like the magnitude of the solicited requirement (the contract’s annual worth was roughly $21 million versus the solicited requirement, which has an anticipated annual worth of roughly $22 million), and that the overall crew dimension for the ships was collectively larger than the crew dimension for the USNS Guam (every ship features a crew of 9-10 people, or a complete of 54-60 crew members, in comparison with the USNS Guam, which has a crew of solely 18 people).
On this report, we conclude that the company’s discovering that this previous efficiency instance was considerably related was affordable. Though the ships in query are mono-hulled metal ships, the vessels are bigger than the USNS Guam, contain larger complexity when it comes to managing their propulsion methods, and the general effort required the coordination of a number of vessels and crews.
In sum, we conclude that the company’s previous efficiency analysis was affordable and per the phrases of the RFP’s previous efficiency relevancy necessities. We subsequently deny this facet of SSI’s protest.
Supply Choice Resolution
As mentioned above, we discover that the company unreasonably evaluated proposals underneath the technical strategy issue because it pertains to the consideration of the offerors’ respective expertise with aluminum-hulled vessels. As additionally famous above, the technical strategy issue included 4 areas of consideration, solely one among which was aluminum expertise.
The report exhibits that the company in the end discovered the 2 proposals comparatively equal underneath the technical strategy issue, and assigned each proposals scores of fine underneath that issue. Nevertheless, many particulars underlying the company’s findings referring to the comparative deserves of the proposals should not discernible from the report as a result of it’s so closely redacted. See e.g., AR, Exh. 62, SSEB Report; Exh. 63, SSDD.
The report additionally displays disagreements among the many technical evaluators, the SSEB and the SSA, however the bases for these disagreements are also largely not discernible from the report as a result of it’s so closely redacted. (For instance, as mentioned, the report exhibits that the SSA disagreed with the technical evaluators’ discovering that the SSI proposal was technically unacceptable, however the doc memorializing that discovering is basically redacted, and we can not decide how the SSA resolved that disagreement. AR, Exh. 37, SSA Memorandum.)
Lastly, as famous, the company elected to closely redact the TOTE proposal, and we can not verify primary particulars of the TOTE offer–for instance, whether or not there even exists a subcontracting settlement between TOTE and [deleted].
As we defined in CALNET Inc., supra:
[T]he report furnished by the Navy in response to the protest contains paperwork which can be closely redacted, regardless of the issuance of a protecting order on this case. Consequently, the report offered to our Workplace exhibits that the company made its discovering of equivalency based mostly totally on the adjectival scores assigned underneath the non-cost analysis components. Though it’s attainable that another portion of the company’s supply choice resolution [or other evaluation materials]–not produced regardless of the protecting order–may present a extra detailed evaluation supporting the conclusion that these proposals are comparatively equal, the report introduced to our Workplace doesn’t embrace such data. Within the absence of an ample report, our Workplace can not conclude that the company’s discovering was affordable.
Right here, too, within the absence of an ample report, we can not decide whether or not the company’s discovering of comparative equality between the proposals was affordable, or made in accordance with the phrases of the RFP. Though the company offered a report it represented to be the related paperwork conscious of the protest allegations, what we will decide from the restricted report introduced, is that the company unreasonably discovered the 2 proposals comparatively equal when it comes to demonstrating expertise with aluminum-hulled vessels. What affect that discovering had on the company’s supply choice resolution, and what affect a corrected discovering on this space may need on the supply choice resolution, is a matter that we can not discern from the report introduced. Accordingly, we additionally maintain this facet of SSI’s protest.
We advocate that the company reevaluate proposals in a fashion per the phrases of the RFP, in addition to the above dialogue, and make a brand new supply choice resolution based mostly on that reevaluation. Ought to the company decide that the proposal SSI submitted somewhat than the proposal submitted by TOTE represents the very best worth to the federal government, we additional advocate that the company terminate the contract awarded to TOTE for the comfort of the federal government, and that award be made to SSI, if in any other case correct. Lastly, we advocate that the company pay SSI the prices related to submitting and pursuing its protest, together with affordable attorneys’ charges. The protester ought to submit its licensed declare for prices, detailing the time expended and prices incurred, on to the contracting company inside 60 days after receipt of this resolution. 4 C.F.R. § 21.8(f)(1).
The protest is sustained.
Edda Emmanuelli Perez