Wednesday, April 9, 2008

HI Superferry: A few points today 4/9/08

First, I just have to comment on this point I noticed yesterday.

Regarding HSF Routes

About the routes that HSF proposes, the one that hasn't been done yet is from Honolulu to the Big Island, Kawaihae. It is about 165 miles and at the ferry's speed would take at least 4 hrs and 20 minutes one-way to traverse. I gotta ask how realistic is that as an out and back route? That is more than twice the cost effective distance for this vessel with the same load of revenue generating passengers, cargo, etc. Anyway, there is more to this, but I have been told to keep it to myself for now.

Lehman Comparing Hawaii to the Canary Islands
"Lehman...his research showed that the Canary Islands, which are similar in size, population and distant location, have five [fast] ferries operating profitably."

I will also say that I checked the transit distances in the Canary Islands and the main route there is about 60 miles with other possible routes of 75 miles and a max of 90 miles. This is significant because with this type of vessel with its 4+ engines, fuel burned beyond two hours with the same revenue generating passengers and cargo becomes cost ineffective beyond 2 hours or about 70 to 75 miles. Here is a link describing the times involved of the ferry routes in the Canary Islands; the additional two longest routes there are 2 hours each.

I also checked Trinidad and Tobago and again the main route distance there is 40 miles with the longest route being 75 miles.

HSF and Cargo?
This was an interesting article. It may be true that the Superferry would be more useful as a cargo ship than as a heavily used passenger vessel in Hawaiian waters given the problem with wind, waves, and seasickness. But, I found two quotes very telling in the article.

First, "A 40-foot truck currently costs $866 full on the Superferry, in addition to a $39 passenger cost, while it costs $57.38, or $0.0383 per pound, for a local farmer to ship 1,500 pounds of cabbage on a pallet from Kahului to Honolulu via a refrigerated container on Young Brothers." There is no comparison here. At those rates the Superferry is way too expensive for most businesses regarding cargo.

Also, "David Amble, who last year completed an audit of the Washington state ferry system, said, 'People who are living on the islands in the Puget Sound, they like the convenience of the ferry but they like the convenience of pulling up the gate on the end of the day,' he said. 'If you live on an island you don't have to worry about everybody else coming into your world.'" Sounds like that could be applied to the Hawaiian islands too.

Alakai's Second Leg Each Day?
Also, based on a quote Garibaldi gave on Monday to the Honolulu Advertiser, "Garibaldi projected that consideration of a Kaua'i route wouldn't come until 'months' after Maui service resumed," [only months?] it can be determined what HSF will attempt to do with Alakai's second daily route/s throughout each week. We'll mention that later.

For now though, here was a good letter to the editor today in the Maui News. This is a good idea too:

"Ferry would be better fit in Puget Sound"
POSTED: April 9, 2008

"I see in The Maui News that the infamous Superferry is making its bimonthly debut. Since most everyone in Hawaii is against it, why doesn’t the Superferry move to the Pacific Northwest where it would be greeted with open arms?

I can also say that the ferry system in the Seattle area is in dire need of an upgrade and what better than the Superferry. It would cut time in half with the commutes in the Puget Sound area.

I’m sure the great people in the Northwest would accept it with very little complaints, and look how much they would save on gas."

Brian Stoneburner

Aloha, Brad

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