It is “inevitable” that importing building sand will cost more and have a financial impact on the building trade and its customers, according to suppliers who have hastily arranged a shipment from Holland this week.
Ronez is part of a group of businesses that have come together to charter a ship to import sand to Jersey. The MV Neptune arrived in the Island on Thursday morning and is currently offloading 2,000 tonnes into trucks.
This was in response to the closure of the sand quarry in St. Ouen’s Bay, which stopped production at the end of August after reaching the limits of its permissible boundaries.
The owner of the quarry, Jason Simon, argued that there was more sand within his border that could be extracted but the Government said it would require a planning application before extraction.
Pictured: The MV Neptune arrived alongside the New North Quay on Thursday and started to offload its 2,000 tonnes of sand (Credit: Mark Pulley).
Mr Simon, whose family have extracted sand from the bay since 1909, said he was not prepared to do this as it had been Government policy since 2000 that the quarry would close.
The latest bridging Island Plan proposed the quarry ceasing production at the end of 2023, but it has closed earlier than that due to high demand from the building trade.
Now, Ronez, Granite Products, Channel Seaways and AA Langlois are among the companies that have come together to scramble the British-registered 74m Neptune to Jersey, in order to keep the Island supplied with one of the key ingredients of concrete.
Pictured: The sand is being removed by a mobile crane that travelled with the ship onto AA Langlois trucks (Credit: Mark Pulley).
Ronez Managing Director Mike Osborne said: “Inevitably the sudden and unexpected closure of Simon Sand has presented some serious obstacles that have to be overcome in a very short period of time.
“We've managed to work very co-operatively with a number of other stakeholders, including other users of sand, logistics specialists, as well as those involved in facilitating sand imports through the harbour.
“The first cargo of over 2,000 tonnes of sand, that began to be loaded yesterday morning, is the reward for a swift, Island wide response to an Island problem.
“This is great progress and ensures that critical building supplies, such as concrete, will not be disrupted.”
Pictured: Ronez Managing Director Mike Osborne, who has been part of a team that hastily arranged the importation of building sand.
However, Mr Osborne added: “Inevitably the imported sand comes at a far greater cost than that from St Ouen.
“This will cause a financial impact on the construction community and our clients, but while we work through these early trials and establish the most cost-effective ways of meeting the gap in supply arising from the closure of the sand pit, it would be wrong to speculate on the magnitude of that impact at this stage.”
Martin Holmes, Chairman of the Jersey Construction Council, said that the trade body had also been closely involved in the sand importation.
“At this point, the magnitude of these costs would be speculation on my part as active discussions are ongoing to seek to mitigate them,” he added.
To give some indication, however, the price of bulk building sand in Guernsey, where it is imported, was close to double the price of sand sold by the Simon quarry before it closed.
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