Safety first from Condor to ensure vital supplies arrive
EXTRA precautions are in place to protect Guernsey’s freight supplies, Condor’s freight executive director Steve Champion-Smith has said.
The Commodore Goodwill and Commodore Clipper are currently both dedicated to freight-only services and are sailing six times a week each between the Channel Islands and the UK.
Mr Champion-Smith said they were keen to ensure the system ran smoothly, despite the current Covid-19 disruption.
And that has meant the company’s staff keeping away from each other. Instead they are operating digitally.
‘We don’t have any face-to-face interaction,’ Mr Champion-Smith said.
In the past the load master would meet the ship’s chief officer and discuss loading. But now they share digital plans and discuss it over the radio.
The freight team has six people, who undertake the administrative duties and direct the stevedores to ensure everything gets loaded on the ship in accordance with the logistics operators’ priorities.
Mr Champion-Smith said Condor has implemented changes to keep staff here safe, as well as in Jersey and the UK.
‘We have people working from home or working separate shifts, so there is not contact between different shifts,’ he said.
The Goodwill has still been operating six days a week, with between 75 and 80 large trailers. The vessel would normally also carry accompanied freight, but there are no passengers on either vessel currently.
The Clipper is also operating six days a week and can carry about the same amount. About 35% of the freight is bound for Guernsey, while the rest goes to Jersey.
As well as essential food supplies, the vessels also bring in animal feed and associated horticultural products for farmers, as well as a wide array of goods for all island businesses.
But with most businesses closed, Mr Champion-Smith said they expected to see a reduction in the amount of freight they will be asked to carry in the coming week, so there was no risk that there would not be enough room for food.
Port staff are classed as essential workers and Mr Champion-Smith said all staff realised how important their role was in the coming weeks and months.
‘We are in a position of responsibility and we take this very seriously,’ he said.