Food Delays Blamed On Penzance Quay Works

Empty shelves in the Co-op yesterday

Empty shelves in the Co-op yesterday

Quay works following storm damage at Penzance are partially to blame for some empty shelves in the islands’ Co-op food store since the weekend.

Technical problems with the Gry Maritha cargo vessel put it out of action last week and it was unable to sail until yesterday.

Usually, the Scillonian III is used as a back-up boat for freight when the Gry is out-of-action but the reconstruction work at Penzance Harbour has restricted access to the vessel.

The Steamship Company says that they did put urgent milk supplies on the Scillonian on Friday and that they sent chilled and frozen goods by air yesterday.

17 containers of perishables will be brought over on that boat today, too.

But it hasn’t stopped islanders complaining about the noticeable lack of fresh food, fruit and vegetables on sale.

St Mary’s resident Maggie Perkovic claims one local shop couldn’t honour a contract to supply baked goods sourced from Cornwall and she added, “We seem to be going backward these days.”

Food reserves at Council residential home Park House were running low yesterday, too.

Chef Mark Twynham told Radio Scilly that his wholesale supplier hadn’t been made aware of yesterday’s rescheduled Gry Maritha so the Park House food order missed the sailing.

Mark says he’ll have to see what he can get from the Co-op.

We asked the Council for a comment but they failed to respond.

The Steamship Company says delivery drivers should ensure they meet the schedule but the company will implement contingency plans where necessary.

They are working closely with the Penzance Harbour Authority to enable the freight operation to take place, which will ensure residents and business in Scilly have the food supplies they need.

But the harbour works there are likely to continue for next 10 days.

Meanwhile, the Company’s Group Commercial Manager Nick Sanders, who oversaw some aspects of the freight operation, left the business last Tuesday.

The Company says he is pursuing other opportunities and they are looking to fill the post as soon as possible.

10 Responses to Food Delays Blamed On Penzance Quay Works

  1. Adam Morton. March 26, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Or we could just have a little more coordination between all concerned? Fresh food by its very nature has a short shelf life which doesn’t always lend itself to stockpiling!

  2. anon March 25, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    The Coop brand is all about social responsibility, and yet they do a disservice to the Isles of Scilly. The Hugh Town branch needs central support and investment in more cool storage urgently. They manage to run low on almost all healthy fresh food on a regular basis, while stocking an endless supply of sweets and chocolates (including Easter eggs months before Easter). They even wasted freight space on narcissi grown in Peterborough recently, when they had no bread, no milk, no eggs, no pasta, and no potatoes on the shelves.

    • Nobby Nobbs March 26, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Although I agree with everything you say, this is the trouble with a NATIONAL company, the company is organised for the 99.9% of the rest of the country and does not revolve around the isles of Scilly.
      ALL national companies are organised this way, SWEB, Royal Mail, BT, HNS.
      Nuts though it may seem to us, companies can’t change their expensive computer systems just to suit us.

      • anon March 26, 2014 at 6:23 pm

        So they should add more cold storage and risk a little more food wastage in the Isles of Scilly. The Coop in Hugh Town is inefficiently planned and could hold much more if refitted. I don’t know how the Coop is managed and whether they would expect Hugh Town to self-fund this, but if they want the role of the only supermarket here then they should live up to their claim of social responsibility and make more effort to provide their customers with a reasonable range of healthy fresh food at all times. At the moment they claim there is a market for the sugary junk food that takes up so much space. The reality is we buy less healthy food because we lack the option of buying healthy food, for example biscuits instead of fruit.

        • Nobby Nobbs March 26, 2014 at 8:18 pm

          The co-op is a business that answers to its shareholders not the small population of the Isles of Scilly and for that reason it does not have to be here at all, especially if the sums don’t add up, and I don’t see Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Aldi et al rushing to open a store over here.
          To be honest we’re bloody lucky to have a co-op

          • Mike L March 26, 2014 at 8:28 pm

            What a ‘Scilly’ argument Nobby. We’re not lucky – they’re here because the sums DO add up. They add up very handsomely by all accounts. It’s nothing to do with their ethical credentials or the fact that no other company wants to serve us. They’re here to make money! Oh and they don’t have shareholders. It’s a mutual business owned by you, me and eight million other members.

  3. Benjamin Button March 25, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    It seems that the coop deliveries miraculously get to the Gry on time, even when the schedule changes at the last minute….but ‘somehow’ almost every other supplier is turned away because they weren’t informed.

    I haven’t got a problem with things not sailing in general, but I do have a problem with some companies being treated differently to others.

  4. ... March 25, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Freight shouldn’t be coming on the Scillonian full stop, especially chilled goods! Stick a temperature probe in amongst the chilled goods that come on the Scillonian for the coop, and other merchants during the summer months, and see what it reads. It’s not kept chilled during transit once it comes off the delivery lorries, so what’s that before it hits the shelves, 6 hours perhaps left in the searing heat? It’s a passenger ship and as such should stay that way, use the Gry with the facilities to keep food chilled and frozen, order more and in time if you’re worried about running out in between sailings!

  5. Katie March 25, 2014 at 10:34 am

    We too have been left without our supplies from wholesalers. Delivery drivers did meet the schedule but the Steamship company changed the schedule at the last minute without letting anyone know!

  6. McNulty March 25, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Not good enough. All I hear are excuses and more excuses, time and time again.

    Families are trying to feed their kids a healthy balanced diet.