THE port of Poole could benefit from Condor Ferries’ purchase of a new high speed ship.
To accommodate the larger Austal 102 at Weymouth, £10million would need to be spent to upgrade a suitable berth, money which Weymouth and Portland Borough Council does not have.
So it is possible that Poole could profit again as it did for 17 months when Weymouth’s crumbling quay was repaired. If the money was found it would take two years’ work.
There has been recent speculation that Condor might move from Weymouth, after in spring the company refused to guarantee it would continue operating from the port.
However the added fuel cost of the longer crossing had been a problem.
“They might want to run from Poole with a bigger vessel which takes more cars and passengers and makes each crossing more fuel efficient for them,” said Bruce Grant-Braham, Poole Tourism Panel chairman.
“I can see the figures might be preferable for Condor now with a bigger vessel,” he said.
Condor Ferries has confirmed that it is to buy a new 102metre trimaran ferry, capable of taking 245 cars and between 950 and 1,165 passengers to use on its routes between the Channel Islands and the south coast.
Talks have been held for more than a year between the company and the islands over how future services will meet the needs.
The company now has the go ahead to apply for a 10-year licence and that certainty has enabled Condor to confirm its purchase of a new ship.
“The 102 will offer increased reliability, capacity and comfort,” said James Fulford, Condor Ferries chief executive officer.
“I am delighted that we are a step closer to investing in a new ship which will secure the future of high speed ferry services for our islands.”