More French goods on the way? Condor sees 30% rise in freight on southern link

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CONDOR’S southern freight service has seen a 30% uplift in business since it was bolstered with additional sailings last year, the company’s chief executive has said.

John Napton made the comments just a few days after Economic Development Minister Kirsten Morel said the case for an expanded supply route from St Malo ‘remains strong’, despite French freight operator Nostos Marine being placed into receivership.

Condor’s French freight service has been running for 30 years, most recently with a one-day-a-week crossing operated by the Goodwill, which was last year bolstered by three weekly crossings on the high-speed Voyager.

Mr Napton said that the company was ‘naturally delighted’ that the extension of its established freight link to the continent had shown a 30% increase in less than a year.

‘This is due to our frequency and extra capacity. Island-based and continental businesses are able to ship chilled and ambient items more often, and because Voyager is a larger vessel than her predecessor, offering greater deck space, this helps the range of products and materials that can be transported,’ he added.

Mr Napton also said that Condor’s general freight operation had shown ‘resilience’ during the recent periods of bad weather and had helped to keep shelves stocked over Christmas.

However, during prolonged periods of extreme weather in the Channel, some supermarket shelves were left bare.

‘I would like to pay tribute to the 100-strong freight team, to the crews on board our two ships and to our shore-side staff for their dedication, particularly in the key weeks before Christmas when we experienced some very challenging weather conditions, including battling five-metre waves in the English Channel,’ he continued.

‘Despite this, we managed to ensure everyone was stocked and supplied in the islands over the festive period, so I am grateful to our staff for their hard work and determination, and also to the local retailers and logistics partners with whom we work closely.’

Deputy Morel has previously spoken of the potential to increase freight capacity from France, arguing that it could help reduce the impact of ferry cancellations and keep

supermarket shelves stocked.

It had been hoped that Nostos Marine’s 55-metre Norwegian-built vessel – Southern Liner – would also transport goods regularly to the Channel Islands, after the service was established at the start of 2022.

However, the company’s co-founder, Pierre Vennin recently confirmed the business had been placed into receivership, having operated only six trips between the French port and Jersey.

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