Re: "mobile versions will be easy to scale quickly"
I agree, Grayling is a bit of an idiot.
But with respect to, specifically and only, the fact that the ferry company had no ferries at the time of the contract, I still fail to understand why is that an issue? They were contracted to supply ferry services in the future, not right then and there.
Many airlines own no, or far fewer than they need, aircraft. There are several aircraft leasing companies out there that offer leases ranging from wet1, to dry2, and any combination3 in-between. I would have expected the same to be true for the shipping (including ferry) industry, where they could have had 3 or 4 fully crewed, operational ferries within a couple of weeks if they were willing to pay for full-on 'wet leasing'.
1 the leasing company provides everything necessary to run the plane, full flight crew (pilots) and cabin crew, and perform all aircraft maintenance. All you have to do, as the airline, is paint the aircraft in your livery, provide uniforms to the supplied crew, any consumables (food/drinks for passengers, fuel, although all that can be outsourced to other companies that specialise in those services) and provide the routes and the passengers to fly on said routes (and pay the leasing cost of course). With this sort of lease, you can have a fleet of crewed aircraft within days, or use it to provide extra aircraft for surge capacity purposes, such as summer holidays.
2the leasing company provides a working aeroplane, that's it. It's up to the airline to crew it, provide maintenance facilities, support services, everything except for the aeroplane itself.
3e.g. the leasing company provides the pilots and major maintenance requirements (e.g. engine overhaul), but the airline provides the cabin crew and minor maintenance services (e.g. oiling the door hinges, replacing a faulty passenger entertainment system LCD display).