Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Inchcape Shipping Services Holding, Ltd.
Agency: Department of the Navy
Disposition: Protest Denied.
- Agency was not required to provide for the submission of revised proposals due to the fact that approximately one year had elapsed between the submission of proposals and contract award.
- Protest that awardee’s prices were impermissibly unbalanced is denied where record fails to establish that awardee’s unit prices were overstated or understated
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
Inchcape Shipping Services Holding, Ltd. (ISS) protested the award to Multinational Logistic Services, Ltd. (MLS) of a contract for maritime husbanding support in the United States Africa Command area of responsibility. Award was first made to MLS following corrective action taken in response to a protest made by a third offeror. ISS protested the award to MLS while also alleging a violation of the Procurement Integrity Act (PIA). The agency terminated award to MLS pending investigation of the alleged PIA violation, and ISS’s protest was dismissed as academic. The agency concluded that there was no PIA violation, and again made award to MLS.
The GAO first disagreed with ISS’s assertion that offerors should have been permitted to update their proposals given the lapse of time between submission of their proposals and the ultimate award. It noted that allowing ISS to update its key personnel and past performance information would have had no material impact on the rating of its proposal as technically unacceptable, as the rating was not based on findings related to these areas. The GAO then rejected the argument that MLS’s pricing was unbalanced, noting out that an increase in prices between MLS’s initial proposal and its proposal following corrective action does not automatically demonstrate that MLS was overstating prices. It pointed out that an agency is allowed to accept below-cost prices on a fixed-price contract, and the agency’s determination of the offeror’s ability and capacity to perform the contract successfully at the offered price is not a matter for GAO review.
If a procurement is delayed for a prolonged period of time due to bid protests and related investigations, offerors should be aware that they may not be permitted to update their proposals unless the agency decides it will accept revisions. The mere passage of time is not sufficient justification for protesting an agency’s decision not to request updated proposals. If an offeror has had a change in circumstances that it believes may make it more competitive, there may be no opportunity to add this information to its proposal.