Superferry pushes back second ship service - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Superferry pushes back second ship service

Tom Fargo Tom Fargo

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU- (KHNL) It's initial launch saw legal challenges and bad weather and now Hawaii Superferry's brand new second ship is seeing it's own setback.

The company claims the recent economic downturn is creating rough waters for the ship's introduction.

Hawaii Superferry's Alakai ship has operated everyday from Oahu to Maui the last seven months straight. But not so good news for it's second ship. With the nation's economy sinking, the company is setting back the sail of it's newest vessel by a year.

"We're disappointed," said Hawaii Superferry President & CEO Tom Fargo.

While the inter-island service's average ridership peaked at 400 passengers this past summer, tourism is down despite a good October. The delay is expected to save about $10 million dollars.

"That's based on what it costs to bring the ship out here in terms of it's transit that's based on the capital expenses," said Fargo.

Hawaii Superferry will seek another company to use the new ship short-term, until then it will sit unused in Mobile, Alabama, the spot it was built. As for its current ship, the company says its key to success is tourism.

"It's people spending money, it's people willing to travel," said Fargo.

But even then, Fargo says it may take 14 months for the company to become profitable.

"When you start up a new business you're going to have to take some loses month to month until you ramp up to the peak rider-ship," said Fargo.

While the country's economy is crippling companies nationwide, Hawaii Superferry hopes this postponement will help it sail past turbulent waters.

The second ship was slated to add service to the Big Island and possibly Kauai. Despite the delay, the company says it's still in solid financial shape.

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