Local businesses support purchase of new Channel Island ferry

Credit: ITV Channel

Local businesses in Guernsey are welcoming the decision to purchase a ferry for the Channel Islands.

The vessel will be purchased by the Bailiwick of Guernsey and leased back to Condor.

Condor said the move could see a new “conventional passenger and freight ship enter service in the Channel Islands.”

It is hoped a privately owned ferry could provide a more reliable service for both islanders and businesses.

Grant Le Tissier, from Manor Farm Foods said: "We work just in time. We buy and order just in time. When it's just in time, it's fine. When that just in time doesn't work, that's when the customer sees it doesn't work.

"I think it is a win win all round. At the end of the day we have a very good service now, but things break down, so obviously with a spare boat it gives you more reliability." John Napton, CEO of Condor, told ITV News that they hoped to invest in a second 'conventional' ferry but Covid had caused challenges.

He added there was still considerable work to be done, but if the additional ship could be purchased it would lead to a more resilient service. However, news of this joint venture came as a surprise to ministers in Jersey.

Senator Lyndon Farnham said there had been discussions surrounding the project, but he was not aware Guernsey planned on purchasing a new vessel.

"News that Guernsey is planning on purchasing a ferry and leasing it back to Condor was unexpected. We've been working closely with Guernsey throughout last year to see how we might jointly improve sea links.

"We're looking to consider a renewal of the contract to Condor that's due to expire in 2025 and we've said publicly before that that will depend on the resilience of the fleet, the suitability of the fleet, so any additions to the fleet at this stage is welcome news," he said.

Further details on the new vessel and plans for the deal are expected to be released by the end of the month.