Word reaches us that Wightlink are intending to
follow in the footsteps of Red Funnel and* withdraw their drop-trailer service to haulage companies.
If you’re not sure what the drop-trailer service is, in simple terms it means that freight lorries can drop off a trailer at the ferry terminal (we’re sure you’ll have seen them parked up in Portsmouth) and it’s then loaded onto the ferry by WightLink.
The trailer is then collected from Fishbourne by a lorry and taken on to its destination (usually to the supermarkets or chain stores) by local haulage companies.
You might be wondering why we think this would be of interest to readers.
Knock-on effects could increase cost of Island living
There are several downsides to the removal of the drop-trailer service.
Firstly, as the trailers would need to be accompanied by a lorry cab on the ferry it will reduce the capacity, thereby meaning less room for other vehicles.
The demand for space could lead to an increase in the ferry fares to all customers, whether they be haulage or domestic.
It’s highly likely that the increase in cost to the haulage companies will result in a knock-on effect to the cost of living for Islanders too.
We imagine that their customer list includes the likes of Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Waitrose, PC World, Maplins, Currys, Lidl, etc. Products being shipped for sale on the Island could rise in price to the consumer.
What’s driving the decision?
One source told VB that WightLink no longer wish to provide the service as it is not cost effective.
We’ve written to WightLink tonight (don’t expect a reply until tomorrow), and will update the story once we hear back (response here).
Update 9.20am * Red Funnel have confirmed this morning that they have not axed their drop-trailer service. They sent us the following statement.
We haven’t stopped running our Drop Trailer operations at all. We recently reduced the number of overnight sailings for the winter period, but this has no impact on our drop trailer operations. We are still happily carrying drop trailers for a number of national brands and Island based companies through Red Funnel Distribution our haulage and freight company. More information about these drop trailers services can be found here http://www.redfunnel.co.uk/freight-and-parcels/contract-distribution