Guernsey Press

‘Agreements aren’t everything, we operated for years without’

CONDOR FERRIES is pragmatic over signing operating agreements with Guernsey and Jersey, its chief executive has said.

Condor CEO John Napton. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 32261152)

The ferry company has agreed a 10-year deal with the port of Portsmouth, the base for its daily freight services, and Channel Islands politicians are talking about getting around the table with Condor CEO John Napton and his team. The company’s formal contract with Jersey’s government ends in 2025.

Guernsey’s lead politician, Deputy Peter Ferbrache, has been quoted as saying that meetings should happen soon as ‘time is running out’.

But speaking to the Guernsey Press earlier this year, Mr Napton said he was relaxed about operating agreements and their role.

‘Agreements are only a recent thing,’ he said. ‘Go back 10 years they didn’t exist, and Condor operated well.

‘We have served the islands for decades and only in the last eight years have we had these agreements.

‘Are they important? They are useful for certain things, but you don’t want to be tied down by a functional, transactional, audit process – you want to have a meeting of minds to solve any strategic issues.

‘If joint challenges come up, then operating agreements can underpin those decisions that need to be made.’

Mr Napton said that Condor wanted to be closer to the plans for a massive redevelopment of Jersey’s Elizabeth Harbour.

‘I want to make sure all our stakeholders are our partners. The only way these things work is to be able to talk in depth with people.

‘We want meetings to talk about strategic issues and the strategic needs of the islands and how we can map a path through that – not schedules. Schedules are our job.

‘In shipping you don’t worry about tomorrow, you need a plan for five, 10, 20 years time, and if you don’t work on those plans jointly, you might end up with people going in different directions.’

The Portsmouth agreement

CONDOR FERRIES has agreed a 10-year deal with Portsmouth International Port.

The firm operates Commodore Clipper and Commodore Goodwill from Portsmouth and the new Islander ferry is expected to run some services from the port.

Portsmouth City Council said the agreement provided certainty for a vital freight and passenger service.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for the port, said: ‘We have a long-standing bond with the Channel Islands here in Portsmouth, so I’m pleased to see that this relationship is on a firm footing for the future with this new deal.’

Condor CEO John Napton said: ‘We are naturally very pleased to conclude this agreement as it secures Condor’s priority services to the islands from Portsmouth for the foreseeable future.’