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Huge freight ship to test Jersey's harbour amid freight concerns

Huge freight ship to test Jersey's harbour amid freight concerns

Friday 15 December 2023

Huge freight ship to test Jersey's harbour amid freight concerns

Friday 15 December 2023

The arrival of an enormous, 163-metre long cargo ship in St Helier this weekend is set to disturb regular ferry crossings – but also give the Government an idea of just how large they can go.

According to Ports of Jersey, it is the Government of Jersey that commissioned the trial, as they work out how to deal with different risks to the island – including how to tackle problems with supply chains.

The statement from Ports of Jersey said: "The DFDS Finlandia Seaways will be carrying out berthing trials in St Helier on Saturday to test the operational parameters of Elizabeth Harbour.

"This trial has been commissioned by the Government of Jersey as part of ongoing testing of contingency plans for a number of possible risks, of which supply links form a key part.

Pictured: Track the ship as it makes its way to St Helier

"The berthing trial has meant the necessary rescheduling of some of Condor’s services, and we are grateful to them for their cooperation and apologise to everyone who is affected by the disruption."

In comparison, the Commodore Clipper is the largest ship to travel to Jersey regularly at 130m of length.

Condor contacted customers on Thursday with news that the conventional freight and passenger service operated by the Condor Islander would be disrupted on Friday and Saturday as a result of the berthing trials. Five routes have been affected in total.


Pictured: The sailings affected by the trials.

"Ports of Jersey has asked us to apologise on their behalf... We are sorry for any inconvenience which is due to circumstances outside of our control," the ferry operator told passengers.

The trials come as Jersey's freight resilience was thrust into the spotlight following disruption due to the pandemic and bad weather, and concerns over Condor's recent decision to hike prices by around 19% from the start of the new year, in what is expected to be a major blow for local retailers and consumers. Condor said it had "no choice" due to rising operational and mooring costs.

On Wednesday, Economic Development Minister Kirsten Morel, who previously worked in communications for Condor, was forced to apologise to the States Assembly for suggesting that he had not been given notice of the decision by Condor.

It was later revealed that he had been told in mid-November, ahead of the news becoming public at the start of this month, but the Minister had "misremembered" the contents of Condor's letter, believing it to have been about passenger price rises. Express asked for the correspondence to be released on Wednesday and is awaiting a response.

collage_kirsten morel condor.jpg

Pictured: Economic Development Minister Kirsten Morel.

Condor's current agreement to operate in the island – signed with Jersey’s Harbourmaster in 2014 – is up for review. In essence, it gave the company an exclusive ramp licence to run Roll-on, Roll-off services in return for a guaranteed level of service, including types of vessels, pricing and timetables.

The decade-long agreement does not prohibit other operators entering the market, but they would have to provide the same level of service as that set out in its 80 pages – setting a high barrier to overcome.

The current 10-year deal between the Government and Condor is in its ‘winding down’ phase, with a new agreement on such matters as capacity and frequency due to be signed before July 2025.

Deputy Morel has previously said he would like to see more daytrips to France form part of any new agreement.


Minister "misremembered" letter from Condor

Government not consulted about Condor's 19% price hike, claims Minister

Timing of Condor increases "could not be worse" for fuel companies

Condor claims there is "no choice" over freight price hike

Pressure builds on Condor as Jersey Post slams "ongoing service failures"

Condor silent as Minister demands "justification" for freight price hike

Retailers rattled by "brutal" freight increase proposals

Providing more day trips to be part of Condor service level talks

ANALYSIS: Jersey and Condor in talks as agreement 'wind down' begins

Pictured - top: The Finlandia Seaways sailing out of Rotterdam in 2019.

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