SeaLink secures Kangaroo Island ferry contract for next 25 years

NEW VESSELS: SeaLink plans an estimated $50 million in new larger drive-through ferries delivering a faster service and upgraded infrastructure. Image supplied
NEW VESSELS: SeaLink plans an estimated $50 million in new larger drive-through ferries delivering a faster service and upgraded infrastructure. Image supplied

SeaLink has secured the ferry contract for Kangaroo Island for the next 25 years, it was announced on Thursday, Dec. 9.

SeaLink Marine & Tourism (SeaLink), part of the ASX listed Kelsian Group, says it secured the Kangaroo Island Ferry Service Contract in a competitive market tender.

It says the contract delivers certainty for Kangaroo Island residents, businesses and visitors by ensuring the continuous operation of safe, reliable and customer focussed vehicle and passenger ferry services on the critical transport link.

The state government meanwhile says there will be a 40 per cent increase in trips and from early March 2022, a standard adult fare for KI residents will drop from $31 to $6.80 and the standard vehicle fare for residents will be reduced from $98 to $65.

SeaLink will design, build and commission two new larger, 59.7m long, diesel-fuelled catamaran vessels within the next few years.

The new vessels will have improved passenger amenity, reduced motion sickness and drive through capability for vehicles, including drive on - drive off with no turning required.

Kelsian Group CEO Clint Feuerherdt said SeaLink would drive new investment and visitation to South Australia by delivering an incredibly affordable, reliable and regular transport outcome for Kangaroo Island residents.

"Importantly, SeaLink will deliver significant fare reductions for residents from early 2022, more than two years before operations commence under the new Kangaroo Island Ferry Service Contract," Mr Feuerherdt said.

"We have a 32-year history of the safe and reliable delivery of this critical ferry service across the treacherous and exposed Backstairs Passage and under this new contract we will continue to serve the residents, businesses and tourists of Kangaroo Island through until at least 2039, with two further five-year option terms beyond that.

"We will also deliver a significant increase in our schedule and capacity that will help sustain the future growth of Kangaroo Island, investing an estimated $50 million in new larger drive-through ferries delivering a faster service, and upgraded infrastructure, to future proof this service for the next 25 years."

SeaLink SA contributes an estimated $78 million to Gross State Product and provides 675 full-time equivalent South Australian jobs, including 120 Kangaroo Island residents, through tourism, travel, and corporate operation.

"As a local company that had its very beginning linked to the Kangaroo Island ferry, the ongoing success of this flagship business in inherently important to Kelsian and our global business.

"In selecting SeaLink, the Government of South Australia has a partner who has a deep commitment to continuing the promotion of the island and successful operation of this important transport link," he said.

CONTRACT ANNOUNCEMENT: Kelsian CEO Clint Feuerherdt with Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Corey Wingard. Photo supplied

CONTRACT ANNOUNCEMENT: Kelsian CEO Clint Feuerherdt with Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Corey Wingard. Photo supplied

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Corey Wingard said the new contract was a big win for Kangaroo Island and all South Australians.

"This new contract with SeaLink is fantastic news for tourism, business and for residents on Kangaroo Island, with more services, cheaper fares for residents, cheaper freight and new larger capacity vessels making the Island an even more desirable destination," he said.

"Once the new contract has fully come into effect, it will be easier than ever to visit and experience the natural beauty and pristine environment of Kangaroo Island," he said.

Mr Wingard said SeaLink was a proven performer, having provided passenger, vehicle and freight services on the Cape Jervis-Penneshaw route since 1989.

"SeaLink's international tourism know-how and connections are vital to the Kangaroo Island industry," he said.

"SeaLink has made it clear they are in this for the long haul, exploring investment in the rebuilding of tourism accommodation lost in the 2020 Kangaroo Island Bushfire in another win for local tourism."

State Government announcement

Cheaper fares for residents, more services and two new larger state-of-the-art vessels are guaranteed with SeaLink securing a long-term contract to continue to run ferry services between the mainland and Kangaroo Island.

Experienced ferry operator SeaLink - which has provided ferry services to KI since 1989 - has won a competitive market-based tender, meaning it will operate ferry services to and from KI until at least June 2039, with two further five year performance based extension options.

As part of the new deal, SeaLink has agreed to slash fares for KI residents within months.

From early March 2022, a standard adult fare for KI residents will drop from $31 to $6.80 and the standard vehicle fare for residents will be reduced from $98 to $65.

The new contract will come into effect on 1 July 2024 and will see SeaLink deliver the following major improvements:

  • 40 per cent increase in services provided over the year
  • 78 per cent reduction in KI resident adult and child fares (to be introduced from March 2022)
  • Up to 68 per cent reduction in KI resident vehicle fares
  • 37 per cent reduction in freight charges
  • Two new modern larger vessels with improved passenger amenity, reduced motion sickness and drive through capability for vehicles (drive on - drive off with no turning required)
  • Investment in new port infrastructure
  • 50 per cent increase in freight & vehicle capacity
  • Customer technology innovations including: automatic resident ID checks, self-service purchase and check-in, Commuter App and licence plate recognition
  • Commitment to upgrade the passenger terminal facilities at Cape Jervis and Penneshaw
  • Continued and increased commitment to KI tourism, including a significant investment budget in collaboration with the SA Tourism Commission.

"We have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with tourism and hospitality operators during the pandemic and we are focused on ensuring both sectors are ready to take full advantage of our strong position as we emerge from the COVID shadow," premier Steven Marshall said.

"These new prices will be exciting news to the hip pockets of KI residents and the increase in services will further entice tourists to one of the most beautiful locations in the nation."

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Corey Wingard said the new contract was a big win for Kangaroo Island and all South Australians.

"This new contract with SeaLink is fantastic news for tourism, local business and for residents on Kangaroo Island, with more services, cheaper fares for residents, cheaper freight and new larger capacity vessels making the Island an even more desirable destination," Minister Wingard said.

"Once the new contract has fully come into effect, it will be easier than ever to visit and experience the natural beauty and pristine environment of KI.

"In another win, reduced resident fares and vehicle charges will be introduced from early 2022 despite SeaLink's current contract not expiring until 2024.

"This will deliver a significant reduction from current fares for residents and will include discounts for concession holders, students and children who live on the Island.

"The massive drop in fares of between 68 and 81 per cent will reduce the cost of living for residents who regularly use the service.

"There will also be 11 services each direction per weekday from September through April under the new contract.

"This is an increase of 30 per cent on the average number of services per weekday during the same months in the two years pre-COVID.

"Travellers will also benefit from two new and improved vessels and infrastructure that comes at no cost or risk to taxpayers.

"SeaLink will design, build and commission the new ferry vessels within the next few years and this will be accompanied by an upgrade to the wharf and harbour infrastructure to enable these new vessels to operate."

About SeaLink Marine and Tourism: SeaLink Marine & Tourism (part of Kelsian Group Limited), operates some of Australia's most recognised marine and tourism brands, connecting travellers from around the world to Australia's most iconic holiday destinations and experiences.

SeaLink's brands, destinations and experiences include:

  • SeaLink ferries to Kangaroo Island, Fraser Island, Rottnest Island, Magnetic Island, North Stradbroke Island, Whitsunday Island, Tiwi Islands, Bruny Island and more
  • Cruises on Sydney Harbour (Captain Cook), Murray River (Murray Princess), Whitsundays (SeaLink), Swan River (Captain Cook Cruises), and Darwin (SeaLink)
  • Resorts and accommodation on Fraser Island (Kingfisher Bay Resort and Eurong Beach Resort)
  • Single and multi-day tours on Kangaroo Island, Fraser Island, Adelaide (and surrounding wine regions), Flinders Ranges, Swan Valley
  • Functions and events on Fraser Island, Sydney Harbour and Perth's Swan River.

To view all SeaLink Marine & Tourism's brands visit Brilliant Travels - www.BrilliantTravels.com.au

About Kelsian Group: SeaLink Marine & Tourism is part of Kelsian Group Limited, Australia's largest integrated land and marine, tourism and public transport service provider with established international operations in London and Singapore.

With around 9,000 employees, we are one of Australia's most experienced and diverse multi-modal transport businesses operating around 4,000 buses, 120 ferries and 24 light rail vehicles, carrying over 207 million customers where they need to be and want to go. Visit www.kelsian.com

This story SeaLink secures Kangaroo Island ferry contract for next 25 years first appeared on The Islander.

Comments

Discuss "SeaLink secures Kangaroo Island ferry contract for next 25 years"

Please note: All comments made or shown here are bound by the Online Discussion Terms & Conditions.