Wednesday, November 21, 2007

HI Superferry: Break Even Analysis...Schedule, Speed, and Time

OK, this is the last of these posts related to my Break Even Analysis of the Superferry. I get into the Scheduling, Speed, and Time because it does determine the BEP and constraints affecting that, and because of that idea by the Kauai speaker that the Superferry should "not travel any faster than the cruise ships going interisland."

So, I wanted to make sure I know what speeds the cruise ships go interisland. What I find is that the maximum speed of most cruise ships is 23 to 24 knots; although, they cruise interisland at about 20 knots mostly at night for their day trips on the islands. So, it is accurate to say that they cruise at 20 to 24 knots interisland. Some useful references I found that relate to this are:

Also, related to Cruise Ship Speed and Whales:

Also, looking on a map the distance between Honolulu and Kahului and Honolulu and Nawiliwili as the ship would travel is about 105 miles in both cases. We will be needing to convert between miles per hour and knots, so here are some good converters:

Additionally, I'll work with Superferry's new and old schedules from their web site and look at some variations on that:

"New Schedule*
Honolulu, O‘ahu to Kahului, Maui
Depart Time Arrival Time
6:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Kahului, Maui to Honolulu, O‘ahu
11:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m."

(It is interesting to note that Hon to Kah here is 3:45 hrs or 28mph avg. or 24.3 knots avg., but Kah back to Hon is 3 hrs or 35mph avg. or 30.4 knots avg. Why the difference? Well, at any rate, this indicates how slow the Superferry is willing to go.)

Old Schedule "OAHU/KAUAI (Mon-Fri, Sun)
Honolulu, O‘ahu to Nāwiliwili, Kaua‘i
Depart Time Arrival Time
3:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.
Nāwiliwili, Kaua‘i to Honolulu, O‘ahu
7:15 p.m. to 10:15 p.m."

(These prior times and speeds would have been 3 hrs or 35mph avg. or 30.4 knots avg.)

I tested a number of senerios of speed into this day-long schedule and find that the key counter constraints are acceptable speed and daylight hours. Basically to go an acceptable speed, some to quite a bit of it will be in the dark. It becomes a question of whether a balance can be found between the two. Limiting the dark travel time is important because marine mammals are harder to see up ahead in the dark at high speeds even if the required lookouts use optical aids such as infrared night vision (
I also want to say that as Greg Kaufman, Lee Tepley, and other experts have testified, there really is no safe speed for the marine mammals above 13 knots on avg., as Governor Lingle has choosen to ignore.

One of the more reasonable schedules that I tested is the following:

[All departures with vehicles still have to check in 1 to 2 hrs ahead of departure to go through thorough 5 minute auto screenings.]

Prospective Schedule OAHU/MAUI
Honolulu, O‘ahu to Kahului, Maui
6:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. (same as company's 3:45 hrs at 24.3 knots)
Kahului, Maui to Honolulu, O‘ahu
11:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. (3:45 hrs at 24.3 knots avg.)

Honolulu, O‘ahu to Nāwiliwili, Kaua‘i
4 p.m. to *7:45 p.m. (3:45 hrs at 24.3 knots avg. arriving at a time of day to less affect commuter traffic; also at a time of day forcing more checkins into traditional accommodations.)
Nāwiliwili, Kaua‘i to Honolulu, O‘ahu
*8:45 p.m. to *12:30 a.m. (3:45 hrs at 24.3 knots avg.)

*Superferry could go slower 5 to 10 miles in and out of Nawiliwili Harbor and have all whale lookouts using night vision optics.

I chose the above speed in the schedule because it meets the maximum speed cruise ships use and it was the time and speed proposed by the Superferry at least for the first leg to Maui. You can test slower speeds, more time, and a longer schedule, but I think it becomes undoable with a longer schedule than above.

The above schedule is not perfect. In fact it becomes apparent with senerio testing that there is no perfect schedule for the Superferry that involves Kauai.

In summation, the Superferry with one or two ferries has very high operating expenses that allow for only a small percentage of profit potential with only private sector business. Further, the counter constraints of BEP financials, scheduling time and speed logistics, excessive fuel consumption for this ferry design, and inherent dangers of this technology to large numbers of marine mammels in this region of the world make it unlikely that Hawaii Superferry will succeed as a viable business in the intermediate to long-term, short of increasing government intervention and financing.

Aloha, Brad

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