Dollars and Cents of Superferry Delay - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Dollars and Cents of Superferry Delay

By Leland Kim

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- It was day two for the Hawaii Superferry Friday as it ramped up its long stalled service to Maui.

182 passengers and 60 vehicles made their way to Maui, and 124 passengers and 35 vehicles made the return trip to Oahu. The weekend numbers stand at about 200 passengers per trip.

Superferry executives say they plan to keep the one trip per day schedule for the time being.

As the giant catamaran is back out on the water, just how much did the months of delays cost the company?

As most of us know, the Alakai was supposed to start service over the summer. But with numerous court challenges and other hurdles, it was pushed back to this week. So are Hawaii Superferry's investors confident the ship can survive in Hawaiian waters?

The Alakai heads back to Honolulu Harbor after its second day of service to Maui. Superferry CEO John Garibaldi and members of the oversight task force team observe the activities. A law that allowed the ship to resume service during an environmental review process required the team be put in place.

"This is a step in the right direction," said Jeff Mira, a member of the task force representing Kauai businesses. "Not saying that it's right or wrong, but I think it's a step in the right direction."

State officials say Superferry executives have been cooperative all along.

"We have conditions imposed on the Superferry, and even before the conditions, they agreed to abide by certain restrictions and limitations on their operations," said Mike Formby, harbors deputy director for the Department of Transportation.

Setbacks also included a nearly four-month long delay. During that time the Superferry lost more than half a million dollars a week, or at least $7 million. Factor in lost revenue, and we're talking about tens of millions of dollars.

"It has been very damaging to the company," said Superferry CEO John Garibaldi. "But I think as we've always said, we look at Hawaii Superferry from a long-term perspective with Hawaii. We think this is an excellent opportunity."

And so do Superferry investors, especially after the recent Maui court victory.

"That gave a level of confidence to our investors, that they should remain committed," said Garibaldi.

Committed to stay in Hawaii for the long run.

Garibaldi also says the long-term goal still is to expand service to Kauai and the Big Island.

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