Business Owner Wants More Done Over Mail Delays

Churchtown Farm

The co-owner of Scilly’s biggest mail order business feels more could be done to get deliveries to the mainland by air in bad weather.

Ben Julian of Churchtown Farm on St Martin’s says the current Skybus arrangements, which use Land’s End airport for mail, are problematic.

Ben says waterlogging and fog are the, ‘Achilles heel’ of Land’s End and he’d rather Newquay was used as a contingency plan.

Mail arriving since Saturday is unlikely to be delivered until at least tomorrow. The Steamship Company will decide whether the Gry Maritha can sail with the backlog at 3pm today.

Ben says his flowers are fine for three days in the post and his company guarantees replacement or refund, without question, after two days.

Most customers are understanding, because of our location, but sometimes birthdays and special occasions can be missed. Ben says it’s important that an alternative plan is put in place to carry freight by air to Newquay.

There are only restrictions if you want there to be restrictions, he says.

Ben says he has spoken to the Steamship Company recently about his concerns. Their commercial manager, Nick Sanders, told us last night that the mail contract was put together before he arrived at the company in April. They are following what they been asked to provide by Royal Mail, ‘to the letter’ he says.

Nick says arranging alternative airport provision would not be a Steamship Company decision but would need to be requested by their client, Royal Mail.

At the moment, Islander planes are used to transfer freight and they are based at Land’s End.

Despite the recent disruption, Ben feels it is better that problems with the new contract are being experienced now, instead of the flower farmers’ busiest week, which for him is the week beginning 17th December. Then they’ll dispatch around 18,500 boxes of flowers to the mainland.


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