Condor's new ship should be sailing into our waters this summer, with the firm then planning to use it to expand freight services between France and the Channel Islands.
The MV Straitsman has been bought jointly between Condor and the Guernsey Investment Fund - which the States of Guernsey is an investor in.
We don't know what the new vessel has cost, but Condor is planning to use it on its already profitable freight services with aims of growing that sector with the Channel Islands Co-op said to be keen to up its continental exports.
By growing its fleet to five ships, including two conventional 'ropax' freight and passenger vessels, Condor believes it will be able to offer improved frequency and connectivity all year round, with increased availability of temperature controlled freight sailings, which the Co-op is said to be very interested in using.
Pictured: The Co-op offers some Carrefour products and would like to expand its range.
Condor Ferries' CEO, John Napton has said the vessel, which is currently in New Zealand, will be brought to the English Channel over the next few months to get the ball rolling in more ways than one.
"Our focus now is on repositioning the vessel to Europe and readying her for entry into service," he said. "The transit journey from New Zealand take around seven weeks via the Panama Canal and Atlantic Ocean, so she will arrive in early summer and then be placed in dry dock."
When the vessel reaches our shores, there will be work to do before it can enter service with "a number of alterations" needed, explained Mr Napton.
Pictured: The Commodore Clipper, along with the Goodwill offers freight services currently.
As a domestic operator, with a maximum four hour travel time, the ship does not have facilities commonly associated with passenger ferries such as a duty free shop. Mr Napton said work, to allow the MV Straitsman to carry out journeys of more than eight hours, will also be carried out.
"Once dry dock has been completed, the ship will undergo berthing trials in Portsmouth, Jersey, Guernsey and St Malo prior to entering service with Condor later this year," he said.
Condor has already been working on developing its freight services with St Malo and Mr Napton said the new vessel offers an opportunity to support that growth plan.
"The larger fleet will help us enhance our offering to the Co-op and other commercial freight customers. It also builds on the 30% uplift in Southern route freight business we experienced last year since the deployment of our high speed vessel, Condor Voyager, which has significantly improved the frequency of continental freight supply."
Pictured: John Napton; Condor's CEO, and Mark Cox; CEO of the CI Co-op, are both feeling positive about increased freight services with France once the MV Straitsman enters service.
"Our freight operation in France is well established so the extension of these services allows Island-based and continental businesses to send chilled and ambient items more often and also broadens the choice of products and materials available."
Mark Cox, the Co-op’s CEO, said the additional capacity to be offered by the MV Straitsman will be of use for its plans to grow its French offerings locally too.
"The extra ship acquired by Condor is a positive step," he said.
"We welcome any opportunity to build on the successful introduction into our stores of French produce which is proving to be very popular with customers. We look forward to further discussions to understand the potential this vessel may provide."
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