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Lift off for the Ports of Jersey?

Lift off for the Ports of Jersey?

Thursday 29 May 2014

Lift off for the Ports of Jersey?

Plans to turn the Airport and harbours into a States-owned company could be around six months behind target but financial reports say it could cover its costs and £300 million worth of capital works with around £35 million left over to hand back to the States by 2040.

The plans are going out to consultation today before the States are asked to make the final decision to create the Ports of Jersey as a private company operating under a board of directors. Chief executive Doug Bannister says that the move will give them the freedom to develop new opportunities and move faster than they can as a States department – ultimately the move could see the Ports develop assets, create new services and even go into partnership with commercial carriers.

Crucially, he says that the financial projections – which have been independently assessed by consultants – say that the ports would be able to make enough money to cover the huge cost of maintaining and upgrading the ports, cranes and runways (estimated at £300 million over 25 years) and still hand back something to the States’ coffers.

The deal proposed stipulates that they would not be able to raise prices by more than RPI and that staffing costs will rise in line with cost-of-living.

Mr Bannister said that the consultation would be a chance for people to have their say on the plans and that he hoped the States could debate the final proposals by the end of the year and set up the new company in the second quarter of 2015.

He said: “The main reason that we are incorporating the ports is to ensure self-sustainability, to keep the ports open and providing the same levels of service over the long term. We want to do that within our own revenue base – we do not want to have to go to general taxation and compete for funds with schools and hospitals, and we don’t want to put our prices up.”

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