[Protest of MARAD Contract Award for Layberth Services]

B-256164: May 19, 1994

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A firm protested a proposed Maritime Administration (MARAD) contract award for layberth services, contending that the awardee's bid was materially unbalanced. GAO held that: (1) the awardee's bid was mathematically unbalanced, since its base-year price was significantly higher than its option-year price for the same services; (2) the awardee's bid would not become low until the final month of the fourth option year; (3) the awardee underpriced some work while overpricing other work; (4) it was doubtful that the awardee's bid would result in the lowest overall cost to the government; and (5) MARAD should have rejected the awardee's bid as nonresponsive, since it was materially unbalanced. Accordingly, the protest was sustained, and GAO recommended that MARAD: (1) make award to the protester; and (2) reimburse the protester for its protest costs.