Islanders' priority is reliable service, DFDS told

People attending a public meeting at the Duke of Richmond
About 50 people turned up to the public meeting organised by DFDS [BBC]

People at a public meeting organised by Danish shipping company DFDS said they wanted to see a reliable ferry service in the Channel Islands.

The company said it was interested in bidding for the contract to run ferries to and from the Channel Islands.

Earlier this year the governments of Guernsey and Jersey announced it was looking for expressions of interest for companies to run future ferry services to the islands.

Economic Development President Neil Inder told Guernsey's States in March he expected a formal tender for the routes to be launched in April.

The representatives of DFDS at the public meeting said they had not seen a tender document yet.

About 50 people attended the meeting at the Duke of Richmond in Guernsey, including Condor Ferries former CEO Paul Luxon, former States of Guernsey director of tourism and marketing Mike Hopkins and former harbour master Peter Gill.

In Jersey fewer people turned up with about 20 attending the meeting at the Raddison Blu on Tuesday.

When asked, many of the attendees said their priority was reliable services to the UK on conventional ferries.

Many said the most important French port for them was St Malo.

DFDS Finlandia in St Helier Harbour
The DFDS Finlandia did berthing trials in St Peter Port and St Helier harbours in December [BBC]

Filip Werne Hermann from DFDS told the audience in Guernsey the company was keen to operate the route because of their commitment to running good ferry services.

DFDS announced it had struck a deal with a Tasmanian manufacturer to design a hybrid-electric vessel for the Channel Islands.

Last year the DFDS Finlandia was trialled in St Peter Port and St Helier harbours as part of a contingency planning exercise for emergencies, organised by the governments of both Guernsey and Jersey.

Currently the Government of Jersey has a contract with Condor until 2025 to run ferry services to and from the island, while the States of Guernsey has a memorandum of understanding until 2025.

The current operator Condor Ferries has insisted it is in the best position for to continue operating ferry services in the Channel Islands.

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