This week, senior representatives from Harland & Wolff, headed up by CEO, John Wood, will return to the Isles of Scilly for a second round of public consultations regarding the company’s proposal to build and operate a year-round passenger and freight service between the Islands and Penzance. The shipbuilding firm will also be discussing the company’s plans for a new fast ferry service and freight services following the recent announcement that Harland & Wolff is acquiring local business Kraken Marine Services.
Harland & Wolff believes that the Isles of Scilly to Penzance route is significantly underserved by its current operation and that replacing old for new vessels on a broadly like-for-like basis, as it currently proposed by the incumbent provider, the same problems relating to the lack of availability and intermittent freight service will persist. Harland & Wolff’s new fast ferry service would cover the summer season between May and September, commencing as early as 2024, and will be able to undertake three round trips daily offering flexibility and increased ‘on-island’ time for visitors.
The Harland & Wolff team have organised events designed to allow residents and businesses to question the company’s team of naval architects, interior specialists and marine engineers about the vessel’s design, operation and bid programme initiated by the Council’s Soft Market Test.
The series of drop in events will begin on the evening of Monday 16th October at The Shop, Quay House, St Mary’s. Harland & Wolff will also be at The Shop all day on Tuesday, and Wednesday morning until midday. An additional team will be on St Martin’s from 1pm on Tuesday at the Island Hall, and on Wednesday at St Agnes Island Hall from 10am. Further plans have been made to also run a public meeting at the Tresco Community Centre on Wednesday.
It is Harland & Wolff’s intention that its bid not only stimulates competition for operation of the ferries along this route, but also provides ships that are both innovative and environmentally friendly. The proposed operation would be for an initial five-year period, with the option to extend for a further five years.
John Wood, Harland & Wolff CEO said:
“We are excited to have the opportunity this week to speak to Isles of Scilly residents about our exciting proposals and learn more about how we can best deliver ferry services that provide better experiences for the residents and businesses who rely on the routes.
“Harland & Wolff will provide further details of the vessels that we will present in our levelling up bid. These would operate all year round, be built for future infrastructure upgrades and will part of a bid to keep fares affordable for Islanders and visitors alike. The time to change is now, not providing a “like-for-like” service that will see fares spiral for decades to come.”