Landmark Year For Scilly’s Steamship Company

scillonian gangwayThe Isles of Scilly Steamship Company say they’ve had a ‘landmark’ year with good financial performance but there are some challenges and changes ahead.

Yesterday the board was told that turnover in the year to March increased by 7.2% to just under £12.5m.

Pre-tax profits climbed 13% to £1.06m. This was mainly due to an increase in Skybus passengers over the winter after the BIH helicopter service ended and also winning the Royal Mail post contract to and between the isles.

They say they have achieved their goal of increasing their capacity to carry every passenger wishing to travel to and from the islands from the start of the season. That’s been backed by Chris Gregory, chairman of the Islands’ Partnership, who says the company has removed any uncertainty about its ability to cope with sudden extra demand

From Radio Scilly

Chairman Andrew May spoke about the Steamship Company’s ‘Landmark’ Year

Some people have been critical of ticket prices when visitor numbers have fallen but Chairman Andrew May says the company is reducing the cost of travel and fares by both air and sea have been more competitive than last year.

The results relate to trading mainly in last year’s season and Andrew says it’s too early to predict whether he’ll be as positive this time next year.

But he says a first look at this year’s data shows that passenger numbers in July were higher than the same period last year, including helicopter passengers, which he described as “encouraging.”

The company has created 50 new jobs, including pilots, engineers, fire crew and customer service staff. The workforce has passed 200 and makes the group one of the largest employers in Cornwall.

And they’ll be looking to recruit again soon. Chief Executive Jeff Marston will be retiring in the middle of next year.

He’s spent 12 years at the helm of the company.

Jeff, who comes from an accountancy background, is credited with transforming the businesses finances.

Chief Executive Jeff Marston is leaving the company

Chief Executive Jeff Marston is leaving the company

Recently a new Finance Manager was appointed although Andrew says they will still be looking to replace Jeff. He’s given plenty of notice and they’ll look at hiring from outside the immediate area.

The company would like the new CEO to be based in the area and wouldn’t object if they wanted to live in Scilly rather than Cornwall.

The company has also appointed a new local board member, St Mary’s resident Diccon Rogers. He operates his own landing craft.

Diccon says he is proud to have been invited to serve as a non-executive director and he looks forward to bringing his commercial maritime experience to the Board.

Peter Hardaker has become the new Vice Chairman, replacing John East, and Roy Duncan will step down from the Board next month.

Andrew says the proposals to improve Penzance and St Mary’s quay’s and the surfacing of Lands End airport are projects for the next year.

He’s backing the Council’s plans for redeveloping St Mary’s airport, claiming it is important to improve quality at both ends of the route.

The Council has touched on potentially leasing out or even selling St Mary’s airport. Andrew says it would be inappropriate to say whether the company would pursue that option at this stage.

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