Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ferry fills 28.7% of seats, 24% auto capacity in May

People have asked for my comment on yesterday's article in the Advertiser. First, the reporter is a new name to me, Suzanne Roig. She writes pretty well and does not overstate herself nor the people she is quoting. I thought overall it was a good article.

From the article: Friday, June 13, 2008
"Ferry ridership at 29% after first month;
CEO 'very happy' with ridership during first full month of operation"
By Suzanne Roig Advertiser Staff Writer

"In its first full month of operation [May], Hawaii Superferry sailed at only 29 percent of passenger capacity, but the company said it carried more people every week and hopes to keep building on those gains.

In May, 21,882 passengers and 6,003 vehicles traveled on the ferry Alakai between O'ahu and Maui. That averaged out to 249 people and 68 vehicles per voyage on a ship with a capacity of 866 people and 282 vehicles...

[Ed. note: The average passenger percentage of capacity is actually 28.7% and the unstated average vehicle percentage of capacity is 24%. The ratio of 249/68 is 3.66 people per vehicle, still higher than the expected average of 3 people per car, probably indicating a strong reliance on visitors without cars via Roberts Hawaii.]

Fargo hopes that increased interest in the ferry will translate into 30,000 passengers in June...

[Ed. note: At 96 one-way trips in June, that goal would be 313 people per voyage, a lofty goal but remotely possible in June, July, and August, if not beyond.]

Mike Walters, Love's Bakery president...'It's working out extremely well for us,' Walters said. 'The Superferry is the wave of the future for us. We're waiting for the second ship next April to start service to Kona and we'll definitely participate in that service.'...

[Ed. note: Notice Love's exec. mention of the Kona and not Kauai now.]

No new voyages are anticipated to Maui or to Kaua'i for the time being, Fargo said. More voyages will be added as ridership increases, he said...

[Ed. note: I would say the standard for adding new trips should more specifically be does ridership continue to increase Sept.-Nov.]

'You get to see the scenery, but it is long,' Kelvin Okamura of Texas said. 'And it was cold, but the price is too good to ignore.'"

A little review and update on current MDO fuel costs:

Marine Diesel Oil fuel price today is about $1,200 per metric ton.
The conversion for diesel metric tons to gallons is 313 gallons/MT.

Alakai burns about 1,950 gallons per hour for three hours per one-way to equal about 5,850 gallons per one-way voyage. At $3.83+ per gallon by the above current price and conversion, that would be about $22,406 per trip in fuel costs.

At $49 per person and $65 per regular vehicle, $35 per motorcycle, with no fuel surcharge, the May one-way average of 249 people and 68 vehicles accounts for only $12,201 plus $4,420 = $16,621. That is a $5,785 difference per one-way run to be made up by commercial customers just to cover fuel costs, much less the rest of HSF's expenses. It's unlikely that the total of what Love's, CFF, Fedex, Expediters, etc. are paying totals up to $6,000 average per run at the present. So, they are close, but probably still not covering their fuel costs on average per run.

Aloha, Brad

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