On Air The Saturday Social Simon Quine | 10:30am - 12:30pm

Packet responds to Tynwald report

The Steam Packet is declining to discuss the Select Committee report into its operations until it's been presented to Tynwald, with chief executive Mark Woodward choosing to keep his powder dry until then.

The company has released a statement, putting emphasis on the positive findings, although it does address the issue of freight costs.

The statement says the User Agreement has above all provided stability, allowing the company to invest with confidence leading to what it calls "enormous improvements in services" since its introduction.

It says that makes the Agreement highly successful for the Isle of Man.

The statement draws attention to the report's confirmation the company is 100 per cent compliant with the User Agreement and charges competitive fares which are cheaper than comparable routes.

On frieght charges, the Packet acknowledges that its rates are higher then some volume carriers.

This it puts down to low traffic volume, low vessel utilisation, high port dues and crew costs.

It also says the User Agreement itself is partly the cause, because of the obligation to provide loss making services.

Overall the company says it is bucking the trend - where UK ferry operators' traffic has declined by around 30 per cent over the past 13 years, the Steam Packet has achieved growth of around 50 per cent.

The statement concludes with a promise to work with the Department of Transport on the report's recommendations.

More on Thursday's Mandate.

More from Isle of Man News