Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Still Ferry-Free

It looks like the tanking world economy is going to keep Kauai ferry-free for at least another year, according to a breaking story in today’s Advertiser.

Apparently, HSF has finally sobered up and realized that since it’s already bleeding cash with the Alakai, it doesn’t make sense to gouge the wound deeper by adding the second ferry, which is now pau and under going sea trials.

According to the article:

The company will look at short-term opportunities for use of the ship prior to its induction into service in the islands.

Gee, I wonder what those might be — especially since this new ferry is outfitted with all the equipment needed to make it suitable for military operations.

The article goes on to dutifully report the usual self-serving shibai we’ve come to expect from HSF:

Hawaii Superferry President and CEO Tom Fargo the company remains committed to serving the people and businesses of Hawaii.

"Postponing the introduction of our second ship will defer over $10 million in start-upcosts and enable us to maintain our sound financial position," Fargo said. "Given today's economic uncertainties, this decision is both prudent and provides us with additional time to develop this market, while continuing to grow our successful Oahu and Maui service.

Fargo said the company still intends to go forward with the long-term plan to expand service to the Big Island and Kauai. The company had planned to start with Kauai earlier but faced opposition from residents there.

Indeed it did — and still does. heh heh

Meanwhile, Dick Mayer of Maui noted that Tuesday travel will no longer be offered after Nov. 4, and that no reservations are being accepted at all after March 15.

On this very rainy day on Kauai, it seems that every cloud does indeed have a silver lining. Mahalo to the anonymous reader who brought this to my attention.


Anonymous said...

If you read the Oahu paper "letters to the editor", people there do not understand why we would want to shun extra business from other Islands. They are used to crime, garbage and the growing homeless. What's wrong with sharing it on Kauai?
Dr Freddy

Mauibrad said...

To Anon 2:53pm, as I think you are implying, some business is not worth having. Desperate people in a big city wouldn't necessarily think that way, they'll take any business they can get.

I was busy today in the rain that Joan spoke of, and have not had a chance to blog it yet, so will put some comments here before my own blog.

Mina e-mailed the news to me about this before my Google alerts went off on this, thanks, I read it off my phone.

I think there were a number of reasons why this happened in addition to the ones the company gave. In no particular order, they include:

1) Lehman's wealth has probably been cut by a third to half by the recent market. Money that he had last year to keep throwing at this, he may feel he doesn't have to waste anymore. Austal has spoken recently about commercial ferry operators running into difficulties recently on financing.

2) The State Supreme Court agreeing recently to take the appeal on Act. 2 is a strong indicator that Act. 2 may be found to be unconstitutional. I would guess they take oral arguments on that after the election and rule on it possibly by the end of the year. This could block the use of HSF2 Hull A616 and A615 for that matter until a real Chapter 343 EIS is done, which could take another year or two, and the company would have to pay for that. Better to plan something else for Hull A616 now, like a government lease.

3) I think this also signaled something about recent infighting and lack of optimism in the McCain campaign. I would say this is also a signal from inside the camp that they know they are not going to win and therefore JFL cannot count on the benefit of inside connections with McCain.

4) Ridership has probably been low recently and this only further points out the problem of running an even more cost-ineffective 4+ hour route between Oahu and the B.I.

5) Recently the State mentioned at one of the OTF meetings that they are planning on passing off all of the cost of tug services to HSF to deal with the barges. That is a lot of money and makes this even more of a money loser.

6) The Army/Navy have a HSV lease ending and funding for a new lease that could begin soon. Hull A616 needs to be tested before more construction contracts could be responsibly awarded for it's design under JHSV. A military lease would be a relatively fixed amount to at least cover all costs, something HSF has not been able to do with the Alakai. Lastly, there has been a dramatic increase in pirate activity on the East African Coast over the past year. HSV's have been used to deal with that. That is where Hull A616 might be more useful.

Aloha, Brad

Anonymous said...

i like the part where the environmentalists knock the less carbon emitting goods transportation system (a big ship). pretty funny, for a moment anyways

Anonymous said...

I like the part where the environmentalists rightly point out all the pollution that will be dumped on Kaua'i by the big ship full of cars, trucks, bodies and god knows what else.

And it ain't funny at all.

Anonymous said...

I like the part where the environment (winter swells, strong trade winds) impacts the SF's operations. Hilarious.

Anonymous said...

I like the part where enviromentalists spell God with a lower case g in order to emphasize their insufferable arrogance.

Mauibrad said...

Friday, October 31, 2008
Act. 2 D-day, December 18, 2008
Not showing up in the media nor Google Alerts today.

News from Dick Mayer:

Oral Arguments before the Supreme Court have been set for 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 18th.

Supreme Court--Appeal of the Special Session's Act 2. (Act 2 overrides the August-2007 Supreme Court decision and gives an HRS 343 pass to 'large capacity ferry vessels.')"

Aloha, Brad

Anonymous said...

> I like the part where enviromentalists spell God with a lower case g in order to emphasize their insufferable arrogance. <

I like the arrogance of those who insist their god is the only god. It'd be the funniest joke of all, were it not for the millennia of misery they've caused in his name.

Anonymous said...

You think there's more than one???

If so, which I strongly disbelieve, it would explain why this planet is circling the drain.

It's being run by committee!!

Anonymous said...

Given what the winter swells and trades have done to the SF's operations, God must not be on the SF's side.

Anonymous said...

October 30, 2008 5:19 PM

aside from those thoughts above (mine), id readily note those SF fellows (and whoever they were working with on the HI state side as to historical statutory interpretation as well ads some sort of HI local counsel) painfully misjudged one or more HRS....at least in terms of how the courts saw it

no matter though maybe, black swan economic events are probably more of a threat to it these days than anything else