Council in talks over ferry back-up plan

Dorset Echo: MAINTAIN LINK: Council is attempting to maintain a ferry link MAINTAIN LINK: Council is attempting to maintain a ferry link

COUNCIL chiefs are trying to tempt another ferry company to Weymouth in case Condor sets sail.

It is part of a back-up plan to maintain a ferry link and all the economic benefits its brings.

Urgent work is going on behind the scenes at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council in the wake of the bombshell from Condor Ferries over new infrastructure demands to accommodate a new super ferry in the harbour.

Some of that work involves exploring ways it can secure £10million to upgrade a berth suitable for the new ferry, including bidding for infrastructure funding from the government through the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The council also wants Condor to sign an agreement to ensure it stays until at least next April.

But it’s also been revealed the council has approached other ferry companies to identify an alternative operator if Condor switched all sailings to Poole. These talks are ‘ongoing’.

In another move, the council has also held talks with Portland Port about the possibility of moving the cross-Channel ferry service to the island in the hope of ‘preserving local jobs’.

Discussions have concluded this is ‘not financially viable at the present time’.

Portland Port general manager Ian McQuade told the Echo that ‘useful discussions’ had been held with Condor and the council, but added: “We have not reached a position where any financial details have been required.”

The extent of the work going on at the council to keep a ferry service is revealed in an update on Condor future operations to tomorrow’s management committee.

Management committee chairman Cllr Mike Byatt said: “There are significant ongoing discussions, and options we are exploring.

“It’s too early to say what the outcome might be.”

The update report says following the announcement that Condor is considering buying a 102-metre Austal H270 trimaran, further talks have been held with Condor and its parent company Macquarie Group. It says the businesses cannot support further investment after buying the vessel and the council doesn’t have the money either.

Detailing the work going on it says: l Meeting with Transport Minister Stephen Hammond resulted in council being told direct government funding not possible but assistance provided where possible l Investigating whether Dorset LEP can support the works as an ‘infrastructure priority’.

l Specialist legal advice sought to draw up Harbour Revision Order timetable if berth 1 works go ahead. This likely to go to public inquiry l Discussions ongoing with Channel Islands’ Government to understand their position in agreeing a new 10-year deal with Condor l Approach made to other ferry companies to identify alternative operator if Condor leaves l Talks with Portland Port l Condor asked to sign operating agreement and lease to cover until the end of the current operating schedule in April 2015. Deadline now been set n BRITTANY Ferries, which sails between Poole, Portsmouth and Plymouth to routes in France and Spain, said it wasn’t in talks with the council.

A spokesman said it was ‘unlikely’ the company would operate out of Weymouth as it already offered a choice of sailings from three British ports.

The spokesman highlighted the problems of accessing Weymouth by car.

Three other ferry companies were approached by the Echo but weren’t available for comment.

Comments (13)

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6:57am Mon 9 Jun 14

ThomasFairfax says...

A new ferry company sailing to where?
The Channel Islands States hold the power to grant landing and harbour permits in St Helier and Peter Port.
A new ferry company sailing to where? The Channel Islands States hold the power to grant landing and harbour permits in St Helier and Peter Port. ThomasFairfax
  • Score: 6

7:56am Mon 9 Jun 14

arlbergbahn says...

Obviously, because of the size constraint any service would have to be a fast ferry, since modern conventional ferries are far too large to use Weymouth harbour, and while St Malo or Cherbourg might be viable destinations it would require someone with a lot of commitment to take on Brittany Ferries head to head, and the record of small operators trying to fill a gap in the past, like after Sealink folded, isn't very good, is it, not to mention how costs and bureaucracy are perpetually increasing thanks to the EU. It's pleasing to see them thinking of these things, but I think really it'd a be a non-starter.
Obviously, because of the size constraint any service would have to be a fast ferry, since modern conventional ferries are far too large to use Weymouth harbour, and while St Malo or Cherbourg might be viable destinations it would require someone with a lot of commitment to take on Brittany Ferries head to head, and the record of small operators trying to fill a gap in the past, like after Sealink folded, isn't very good, is it, not to mention how costs and bureaucracy are perpetually increasing thanks to the EU. It's pleasing to see them thinking of these things, but I think really it'd a be a non-starter. arlbergbahn
  • Score: 7

8:13am Mon 9 Jun 14

vegit8 says...

Perhaps someone could buy an ex MOD landing craft and use that, it's been done before. Seems to me that the council are grasping at straws, in a sort of any operator / port in a storm type of last ditch attempt to rescue something from this mess,,,
Perhaps someone could buy an ex MOD landing craft and use that, it's been done before. Seems to me that the council are grasping at straws, in a sort of any operator / port in a storm type of last ditch attempt to rescue something from this mess,,, vegit8
  • Score: 4

8:17am Mon 9 Jun 14

Simon Nicholas says...

ThomasFairfax wrote:
A new ferry company sailing to where?
The Channel Islands States hold the power to grant landing and harbour permits in St Helier and Peter Port.
For once I think the council are being very prudent in exploring every possible option, including discussions with Portland Port - after all it does not matter where the ferries go to as long as they start from Weymouth or Portland! I tend to agree with arlbergbahn though in that it is unlikely that a rival firm would be interested. There are not that many at the end of the day, and some are owned by the same people - the Macquarie Group own both Condor and Wightlink for instance.

I`m a bit perplexed as to why the council are so obsessed with Condor signing an agreement to guarantee sailing from here until end March 2015. They have already stated publically that this will be the case, and booking are being taken up to this date - Weymouth is their cheapest option UK side, and the only port that is close enotgh to the Islands to enable two sailings per day with the same vessel, if required. They will certainly not leave Weymouth whilst Express and Vitesse are still operational.

Simon N.
[quote][p][bold]ThomasFairfax[/bold] wrote: A new ferry company sailing to where? The Channel Islands States hold the power to grant landing and harbour permits in St Helier and Peter Port.[/p][/quote]For once I think the council are being very prudent in exploring every possible option, including discussions with Portland Port - after all it does not matter where the ferries go to as long as they start from Weymouth or Portland! I tend to agree with arlbergbahn though in that it is unlikely that a rival firm would be interested. There are not that many at the end of the day, and some are owned by the same people - the Macquarie Group own both Condor and Wightlink for instance. I`m a bit perplexed as to why the council are so obsessed with Condor signing an agreement to guarantee sailing from here until end March 2015. They have already stated publically that this will be the case, and booking are being taken up to this date - Weymouth is their cheapest option UK side, and the only port that is close enotgh to the Islands to enable two sailings per day with the same vessel, if required. They will certainly not leave Weymouth whilst Express and Vitesse are still operational. Simon N. Simon Nicholas
  • Score: 6

10:08am Mon 9 Jun 14

JamesYoung says...

And there, in the penultimate sentence, is the reason why these efforts are destined to fail. Weymouth is painful to get to.
Let the ferry go, move the trawlers up to the ferry's bay, and convert the rest of the harbour into (council owned) marina berths. That's probably the best hope for a sustainable income.
And there, in the penultimate sentence, is the reason why these efforts are destined to fail. Weymouth is painful to get to. Let the ferry go, move the trawlers up to the ferry's bay, and convert the rest of the harbour into (council owned) marina berths. That's probably the best hope for a sustainable income. JamesYoung
  • Score: 12

10:21am Mon 9 Jun 14

ThomasFairfax says...

Simon Nicholas wrote:
ThomasFairfax wrote:
A new ferry company sailing to where?
The Channel Islands States hold the power to grant landing and harbour permits in St Helier and Peter Port.
For once I think the council are being very prudent in exploring every possible option, including discussions with Portland Port - after all it does not matter where the ferries go to as long as they start from Weymouth or Portland! I tend to agree with arlbergbahn though in that it is unlikely that a rival firm would be interested. There are not that many at the end of the day, and some are owned by the same people - the Macquarie Group own both Condor and Wightlink for instance.

I`m a bit perplexed as to why the council are so obsessed with Condor signing an agreement to guarantee sailing from here until end March 2015. They have already stated publically that this will be the case, and booking are being taken up to this date - Weymouth is their cheapest option UK side, and the only port that is close enotgh to the Islands to enable two sailings per day with the same vessel, if required. They will certainly not leave Weymouth whilst Express and Vitesse are still operational.

Simon N.
Simon Nicholas wrote
-" Weymouth is their cheapest option UK side, and the only port that is close enotgh to the Islands to enable two sailings per day with the same vessel, if required. They will certainly not leave Weymouth whilst Express and Vitesse are still operational".

The new Condor Ferry will replace two existing ferries from October this year.
Further reading: http://new-agenda201
2.blogspot.com/2014/
02/a-new-condor-ferr
y-between-united.htm
l
"It also emerges that Condor have indicated that the new vessel will "replace two ships of the existing fleet". Clearly, the only candidates are the Express and the Vittesse which, if taken out of service, will effectively reduce the overall tourist capacity by some 100 vehicle and 320 passengers, and remove at least one sailing per day between the Channel Islands and the mainland"

See also:
http://new-agenda201
2.blogspot.com/2014/
04/the-writing-has-b
een-on-wall-for-almo
st.html

.
[quote][p][bold]Simon Nicholas[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ThomasFairfax[/bold] wrote: A new ferry company sailing to where? The Channel Islands States hold the power to grant landing and harbour permits in St Helier and Peter Port.[/p][/quote]For once I think the council are being very prudent in exploring every possible option, including discussions with Portland Port - after all it does not matter where the ferries go to as long as they start from Weymouth or Portland! I tend to agree with arlbergbahn though in that it is unlikely that a rival firm would be interested. There are not that many at the end of the day, and some are owned by the same people - the Macquarie Group own both Condor and Wightlink for instance. I`m a bit perplexed as to why the council are so obsessed with Condor signing an agreement to guarantee sailing from here until end March 2015. They have already stated publically that this will be the case, and booking are being taken up to this date - Weymouth is their cheapest option UK side, and the only port that is close enotgh to the Islands to enable two sailings per day with the same vessel, if required. They will certainly not leave Weymouth whilst Express and Vitesse are still operational. Simon N.[/p][/quote]Simon Nicholas wrote -" Weymouth is their cheapest option UK side, and the only port that is close enotgh to the Islands to enable two sailings per day with the same vessel, if required. They will certainly not leave Weymouth whilst Express and Vitesse are still operational". The new Condor Ferry will replace two existing ferries from October this year. Further reading: http://new-agenda201 2.blogspot.com/2014/ 02/a-new-condor-ferr y-between-united.htm l "It also emerges that Condor have indicated that the new vessel will "replace two ships of the existing fleet". Clearly, the only candidates are the Express and the Vittesse which, if taken out of service, will effectively reduce the overall tourist capacity by some 100 vehicle and 320 passengers, and remove at least one sailing per day between the Channel Islands and the mainland" See also: http://new-agenda201 2.blogspot.com/2014/ 04/the-writing-has-b een-on-wall-for-almo st.html . ThomasFairfax
  • Score: 3

10:47am Mon 9 Jun 14

scubadude says...

Yet again the council demonstrates it incompetence, while we all know any sensible organization discusses alternatives "just in case" a competent one keep's its cards close to its chest... clearly no one on the council plays poker!
Yet again the council demonstrates it incompetence, while we all know any sensible organization discusses alternatives "just in case" a competent one keep's its cards close to its chest... clearly no one on the council plays poker! scubadude
  • Score: 6

11:30am Mon 9 Jun 14

MrTomSmith says...

Ferries get bigger and bigger with operations and sales at the port side a major part of the industry now. Come on, having a massive Ferry that take hundreds of cars and lorries in Weymouth Harbour (hardly call it a port really) is a joke.

Well I get the poker bit, but unfortunately being a council they are also bound to report to us, so we can't have it both ways. I do agree with what you say scubadube but I also want to know what's going on. Who draws the line at what information we can and can't see.

I would still get rid of them, can't be trusted, bye bye #voteukip
Ferries get bigger and bigger with operations and sales at the port side a major part of the industry now. Come on, having a massive Ferry that take hundreds of cars and lorries in Weymouth Harbour (hardly call it a port really) is a joke. Well I get the poker bit, but unfortunately being a council they are also bound to report to us, so we can't have it both ways. I do agree with what you say scubadube but I also want to know what's going on. Who draws the line at what information we can and can't see. I would still get rid of them, can't be trusted, bye bye #voteukip MrTomSmith
  • Score: 6

12:32pm Mon 9 Jun 14

Simon Nicholas says...

ThomasFairfax wrote:
Simon Nicholas wrote:
ThomasFairfax wrote: A new ferry company sailing to where? The Channel Islands States hold the power to grant landing and harbour permits in St Helier and Peter Port.
For once I think the council are being very prudent in exploring every possible option, including discussions with Portland Port - after all it does not matter where the ferries go to as long as they start from Weymouth or Portland! I tend to agree with arlbergbahn though in that it is unlikely that a rival firm would be interested. There are not that many at the end of the day, and some are owned by the same people - the Macquarie Group own both Condor and Wightlink for instance. I`m a bit perplexed as to why the council are so obsessed with Condor signing an agreement to guarantee sailing from here until end March 2015. They have already stated publically that this will be the case, and booking are being taken up to this date - Weymouth is their cheapest option UK side, and the only port that is close enotgh to the Islands to enable two sailings per day with the same vessel, if required. They will certainly not leave Weymouth whilst Express and Vitesse are still operational. Simon N.
Simon Nicholas wrote -" Weymouth is their cheapest option UK side, and the only port that is close enotgh to the Islands to enable two sailings per day with the same vessel, if required. They will certainly not leave Weymouth whilst Express and Vitesse are still operational". The new Condor Ferry will replace two existing ferries from October this year. Further reading: http://new-agenda201 2.blogspot.com/2014/ 02/a-new-condor-ferr y-between-united.htm l "It also emerges that Condor have indicated that the new vessel will "replace two ships of the existing fleet". Clearly, the only candidates are the Express and the Vittesse which, if taken out of service, will effectively reduce the overall tourist capacity by some 100 vehicle and 320 passengers, and remove at least one sailing per day between the Channel Islands and the mainland" See also: http://new-agenda201 2.blogspot.com/2014/ 04/the-writing-has-b een-on-wall-for-almo st.html .
Yes, I am aware that the plan involves Express and Vitesse being replaced by theone craft, to operate out of either Weymouth or Poole. However, there is uncertainty as to when the new vessel will be ready - certainly, Condor management confirmed to the Dorset Echo just before Easter that they had no plans to alter the sailing schedules out of Weymouth until end March 2015.
[quote][p][bold]ThomasFairfax[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Simon Nicholas[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ThomasFairfax[/bold] wrote: A new ferry company sailing to where? The Channel Islands States hold the power to grant landing and harbour permits in St Helier and Peter Port.[/p][/quote]For once I think the council are being very prudent in exploring every possible option, including discussions with Portland Port - after all it does not matter where the ferries go to as long as they start from Weymouth or Portland! I tend to agree with arlbergbahn though in that it is unlikely that a rival firm would be interested. There are not that many at the end of the day, and some are owned by the same people - the Macquarie Group own both Condor and Wightlink for instance. I`m a bit perplexed as to why the council are so obsessed with Condor signing an agreement to guarantee sailing from here until end March 2015. They have already stated publically that this will be the case, and booking are being taken up to this date - Weymouth is their cheapest option UK side, and the only port that is close enotgh to the Islands to enable two sailings per day with the same vessel, if required. They will certainly not leave Weymouth whilst Express and Vitesse are still operational. Simon N.[/p][/quote]Simon Nicholas wrote -" Weymouth is their cheapest option UK side, and the only port that is close enotgh to the Islands to enable two sailings per day with the same vessel, if required. They will certainly not leave Weymouth whilst Express and Vitesse are still operational". The new Condor Ferry will replace two existing ferries from October this year. Further reading: http://new-agenda201 2.blogspot.com/2014/ 02/a-new-condor-ferr y-between-united.htm l "It also emerges that Condor have indicated that the new vessel will "replace two ships of the existing fleet". Clearly, the only candidates are the Express and the Vittesse which, if taken out of service, will effectively reduce the overall tourist capacity by some 100 vehicle and 320 passengers, and remove at least one sailing per day between the Channel Islands and the mainland" See also: http://new-agenda201 2.blogspot.com/2014/ 04/the-writing-has-b een-on-wall-for-almo st.html .[/p][/quote]Yes, I am aware that the plan involves Express and Vitesse being replaced by theone craft, to operate out of either Weymouth or Poole. However, there is uncertainty as to when the new vessel will be ready - certainly, Condor management confirmed to the Dorset Echo just before Easter that they had no plans to alter the sailing schedules out of Weymouth until end March 2015. Simon Nicholas
  • Score: 3

4:12pm Mon 9 Jun 14

weymouthfox says...

Wasn't there a plan to start a Condor-type ferry service from Portland to Cherbourg. I seem to recall this being announced in the Echo a couple of years ago., They only need put in a linkspan and Condor canperate from Portland Port.
Wasn't there a plan to start a Condor-type ferry service from Portland to Cherbourg. I seem to recall this being announced in the Echo a couple of years ago., They only need put in a linkspan and Condor canperate from Portland Port. weymouthfox
  • Score: -2

7:31pm Mon 9 Jun 14

JamesYoung says...

weymouthfox wrote:
Wasn't there a plan to start a Condor-type ferry service from Portland to Cherbourg. I seem to recall this being announced in the Echo a couple of years ago., They only need put in a linkspan and Condor canperate from Portland Port.
Can't see it myself. Terrible road congestion.
[quote][p][bold]weymouthfox[/bold] wrote: Wasn't there a plan to start a Condor-type ferry service from Portland to Cherbourg. I seem to recall this being announced in the Echo a couple of years ago., They only need put in a linkspan and Condor canperate from Portland Port.[/p][/quote]Can't see it myself. Terrible road congestion. JamesYoung
  • Score: 4

7:51pm Mon 9 Jun 14

Caption Sensible says...

The same old reasons for the loss of industry, services, shops, port traffic etc., etc., a cr@ppy road system. Just how many times does it need to be drilled into people's heads? A western route around Rodwell/Wyke to Portland and an extension of the dual carriageway from Ringwood to Honiton and another route up to Yeovil/M5 is needed.

Is this really too hard to work out?
The same old reasons for the loss of industry, services, shops, port traffic etc., etc., a cr@ppy road system. Just how many times does it need to be drilled into people's heads? A western route around Rodwell/Wyke to Portland and an extension of the dual carriageway from Ringwood to Honiton and another route up to Yeovil/M5 is needed. Is this really too hard to work out? Caption Sensible
  • Score: 2

11:29am Fri 13 Jun 14

Mindblower says...

Many of my family members travel to France several times a year. We have ageing relatives there.

They all use Condor from Poole during May to October and during the winter months fly from Southampton. (less than hour flight time)
They all gave up using Weymouth a couple of years ago. Why - well do you really want to have to travel to a port that is out on a limb and absolutely diabolical to get to?

Get with it Weymouth it's not Condor that's your problem but your location and the access to it. Your town has a very limited future until that problem is sorted.

One other point - In truth how many people actually stay in Weymouth guest houses/hotels over night whilst awaiting the ferry - very very few I suspect.
Many of my family members travel to France several times a year. We have ageing relatives there. They all use Condor from Poole during May to October and during the winter months fly from Southampton. (less than hour flight time) They all gave up using Weymouth a couple of years ago. Why - well do you really want to have to travel to a port that is out on a limb and absolutely diabolical to get to? Get with it Weymouth it's not Condor that's your problem but your location and the access to it. Your town has a very limited future until that problem is sorted. One other point - In truth how many people actually stay in Weymouth guest houses/hotels over night whilst awaiting the ferry - very very few I suspect. Mindblower
  • Score: 0

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