POOLE Port could benefit from more Condor Ferries’ cross Channel sailings, after the firm refused to guarantee it will continue operating from Weymouth.
Speaking for the first time since it emerged the firm’s future in Weymouth was uncertain due to new infrastructure demands, Condor Ferries’ boss James Fulford stayed tight-lipped about the future.
However, the company switched sailings to Poole for 17 months, last year, to allow repair works to proceed at Weymouth Harbour.
It has been revealed that the firm would have to stay away for two years in Weymouth rather than one if Weymouth and Portland Borough Council undertook £10m worth of works to upgrade berth 1.
This is because there would have to be a harbour revision order which could end up going to a public inquiry.
Mr Fulford, chief executive of Condor Ferries, said the firm valued its relationship with Weymouth, but avoided questions about whether sailings would continue from the resort if it purchased a new super ferry.
It has emerged the council may have to fork out an estimated £10m to accommodate the larger ship which Condor is thinking of buying. The high speed trimaran could only dock at berth 1, which will need a substantial upgrade.
Condor has rejected using berth 3, which the council spent more than £4m on refurbishing last year.
Mr Fulford said: “Condor Ferries is committed to investing in a safe and efficient fleet which will enable us to provide a full service of sailings, keeping the Channel Islands connected and supplied.
“One of the options we are currently considering is investing in a new ship. However, this investment relies upon us achieving the certainty of a new licence to operate to the islands.
“Introducing any new ship involves a range of legislative and infrastructure considerations and, as you would expect, we are working closely with all the interested parties, including Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, other harbour authorities and the States of Jersey and Guernsey.”