Process to decide future of Jersey's ferry services officially begins

Picture: ROB CURRIE. (38044165)

THE race to decide the future of Jersey and Guernsey’s passenger and freight ferry services has officially begun with the launch of the formal tender process.

Both islands are now inviting bids from applicants “with the necessary experience and capability”, with a submission deadline of 8 July.

The announcement comes just weeks after the Danish shipping company hoping to beat Condor to secure the tender held an open meeting in the Island, to gather feedback from a number of local businesses and other stakeholders seeking information about the operator and what it could offer.

DFDS vice-president Filip Werne Hermann said that his firm had a “huge fleet” which presented an “opportunity” for the Channel Islands.

Filip Werne Hermann at the DFDS meeting at the Radisson Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (38044122)

But Condor’s interim chief executive Christophe Mathieu has also stated that the long-standing operator is “determined to answer and win the tender”, with its current agreement due to end next year.

Economic Development Minister Kirsten Morel said: “The reason we are going through this process is to ensure that we secure the best possible freight and passenger services for the Channel Islands. The islands are working together with the shared objective of finding the operator which can deliver the best service in terms of resilience, reliability, passenger experience and sustainability.”

Deputy Neil Inder, the president of Guernsey’s Committee for Economic Development, added: “We have completed the initial market testing phase of this procurement process, and now we are inviting formal tenders from interested applicants. We remain on track to complete the overall process and make a final decision before the end of the year, in time for when the current agreement ends.”

Christophe Mathieu, CEO of Brittany Ferries and the interim chief executive of Condor Ferries Picture: ROB CURRIE. (38044119)

Deputy Inder continued: “This is an open and impartial procurement process being run jointly by Guernsey and Jersey, and we therefore don’t intend to provide an ongoing commentary or engage in speculation while it’s taking place. But we will provide the community with any significant updates as the process continues.”

Both firms have already begun vying for the contract, with Condor recently announcing discounted fares on routes to Spain and Ireland through Brittany Ferries, which is a shareholder in the operator.

And DFDS has said it is investigating the possibility of a hybrid-electric vessel that could accommodate both freight and passenger transport and be deployed on routes to and from the Channel Islands and France – should it win the tender.

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