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wightlinkstclareWightlink fares are set to increase by up to 2.4% from the start of next year, despite the massive 44% drop in the price of crude oil in recent months.

UKIP parliamentary candidate, Iain McKie wrote to the Island’s three ferry operators – Wightlink, Red Funnel and Hovertravel – to grasp assurances as to whether the reduced fuel prices will be passed onto customers with lower fares in 2015.

Responding to Mr McKie’s letter, Wightlink’s Chief Executive Russell Kew said:

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“Brent Crude costs have fallen significantly. But there has been another important change in fuel pricing: from 1 January 2015, we will need to use a more expensive fuel as a result of European wide legislation to reduce emissions. Low sulphur fuel (MGO) costs around 40% more than IFO180. Despite this, and because we have worked so hard to control our costs over several years, we have been able to protect our customers from this increased cost.

“Generally, fares will rise in line with inflation as has been the case over the last few years, some will not go up at all, others will rise by no more than 2.4%”.

Hovertravel and Red Funnel are yet to respond to Mr McKie.

redfunnelferryUPDATE TUESDAY: In a letter to Iain McKie this week, Kevin George, CEO of Red Funnel has said that the price drop in crude oil doesn’t reflect equally to the price drop in low sulphur marine gas oil.

“Red Funnel works hard to minimise its costs so that it can offer competitive, value for money fares.  The dramatic fall in crude oil process has not been reflected to such an extreme in the cost of low sulphur marine gas oil used by all Red Funnel vessels.  This is partly due to the fact that all ships operating in Europe will be required by environmental regulations to use low sulphur fuel.  This will increase demand for this type of fuel and hence the price.

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“In other cost areas we are seeing regulatory changes requiring more staff and extensive training programmes as well as unavoidable inflationary increases.  Regrettably these other cost increases more than outweigh the saving in fuel”.

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