Friday, May 9, 2008

HI Superferry: Review of past few days

1) Funny comment from:

"Anonymous said...
The Superferry called my house yesterday. It went like this:
Superferry: Eh, what, you guys still pissed off?
Me: Uh, no, why?
SF: We like come Kauai.
Me: Hah? Why, nobody going ride your boat and get all sick. Waste time.
SF: No, no, no, try watch our commercials. Smooth the ride.
Me: Ummm, nah, but let me ask around. Eh, anybody like ride the Superferry?
SF: What they said?
Me: Yeah, get three, four guys might ride 'em. Still five bucks, yeah?
SF: (click)
Me: Hello? Hello?"

2) Interesting article yesterday by Christie Wilson of the Honolulu Advertiser:
"Ferry must pay for tugboat; DOT says company must assume cost of second Maui sailing"
By Christie Wilson, May 8, 2008:

"The state Department of Transportation has told Hawaii Superferry it must pay for evening tugboat services at Kahului Harbor needed to accommodate the company's expanded Maui service..."We have notified HSF that they are responsible for the costs associated with the second Maui call," Harbors Division chief Michael Formby said yesterday. "We have not received HSF's position on our decision as of this date."...The DOT also has not conceded that it is responsible for any tugboat costs incurred since January...Despite the change in seasons, occasional north[east] swells continue to roll into the harbor..."

"The afternoon sailings also will allow commercial customers to return the same day, something they can't do now with a single daily roundtrip..."

That is so only for Oahu commercial customers who can go to Maui and back to Oahu, 8 hours later in the same day. But, Maui commercial customers not making use of an intermediary have less than a one hour window, otherwise they have to stay overnight on Oahu and return the next day. Spoke with a knowledgeable person who said this is an opportunity for Oahu businesses to expand their market on Maui, and not so easily vise-a-versa.

"The second sailing will mean additional hours for some of Superferry's port workers, and the company has hired 20 additional employees, officials said..."

HSF had a classified in the Maui News a few weeks ago for positions paying $13/hr. Well, that's more than the $12/hour that Austal pays some welders. A search on the net reveals that Austal pays welders from $8 to $18/hour. First class welders elsewhere in their industry are paid closer to $30/hour.

"During the two promotional periods, Superferry is waiving its fuel surcharge, which was listed yesterday on the company Web site at 49.8 percent."

By HSF's original fuel surcharge disclosures, a 2% fare increase for each 10% rise in the MDO metric ton price rise above $300, the surcharge would be as high as a 66% increase if it were being charged.

"In a March 14 letter notifying the Public Utilities Commission of the summer fares, the company it was extending promotional pricing through September to "gain public acceptance, regardless of any other controversy." The discounted fares are necessary to offset "negative publicity" generated by environmental lawsuits, the Kaua'i protests, and cancellation of voyages due to rough seas and repairs, the letter said."

3) Also, good quote from Senator Hooser in an article by Rob Perez of the Honolulu Advertiser: "Superferry awaits signal from Kauai; community can decide for itself if it wants service, new CEO says" By Rob Perez, May 7, 2008:

"...At least one Kaua'i politician suggested that the company is still unwelcomed by many people on that island. Sen. Gary Hooser, D-7th (Kaua'i, Ni'ihau), said the percentage of Kaua'i residents opposed to the Superferry probably hasn't changed much and likely won't change much until the company shows it is reliable and forthright with the community. 'The Hawaii Superferry needs to prove itself in terms of reliability, service and community commitment first, and they haven't done that on Maui,' Hooser said. 'It's proven to be unreliable.' Hooser also said he was unaware of the Superferry doing any significant outreach to community groups on Kaua'i over the past few months..."

"SHAKEDOWN PERIOD ENDS...Fargo said the carrier had gone through an expected shakedown period..."

Umm, others have pointed out this Freudian slip. I think that is a "shaking out" period. "Shakedown" implies something else.

4) There were also a bunch of unscientific polls run in the past few days. Nevertheless, they all show negative support for HSF on Kauai and Maui. I may post more on them, if I get time.

Aloha, Brad

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