18 November 2017 12:00 - Press Release

Commodore Shipping celebrates 70 years of Islands' freight service

COMMODORE Shipping reaches a major milestone this year as the company celebrates seven decades of providing lifeline freight services to the Channel Islands.

Commodore’s inaugural service began in September 1947 when its vessel, the ‘Red Commodore’, arrived in St Peter Port Harbour on charter, as a freight only operation between Guernsey, Alderney and Sark. She was soon joined by two other ships as the company expanded services to the UK and by 1950, had started to carry passengers between the Islands in the Bailiwick. Changes embraced over the years include the move from cargo, to container and to the more recent roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) shipping plus the development of shore-side operations.

Today, the company, now known as Condor Freight, conveys 80% of all supplies to the Channel Islands from the UK which includes temperature controlled products, heavy and out of gauge consignments (typically for construction projects), unaccompanied cars and passengers. Our services are maintained on a ‘just in time’ basis as extensive warehousing no longer exists on either Island. This requires close cooperation and liaison with longstanding logistics distributors and other clients to ensure supplies 24/7 and 365 days per year, most of which are transported overnight.

Current services from Portsmouth to Guernsey, Jersey and St Malo are sustained by the freight-only Commodore Goodwill and the mixed passenger and freight ship Commodore Clipper which, together, cover 3,000 nautical miles each week – the same distance as Guernsey to New York.

Paul Luxon, Condor’s CEO, said the company’s longevity and success owed much to its willingness to adapt and embrace technology whilst remaining dedicated to the various needs of its customers.

‘By focussing on the Channel Islands and changing with the times, Commodore has been able to establish itself as a market leader in freight services which encompassed many other operations, including stevedoring, handling and distribution, all in response to the change in demand.’

‘The development of ro-ro during the 1990s improved the speed and responsiveness of our services significantly so that these days, our teams can load and offload 80 x 13.6 metre trailers, each containing vital supplies for the Islands, in a fraction of the time it used to take. That’s the equivalent of more than 100 London buses.’

Mr Luxon confirmed that the dedication and loyalty of employees played a big part in the company’s development.

‘It is remarkable to see colleagues who have dedicated their working lives to one organisation and I am immensely proud that we have several who have notched up over 30 years’ experience, with two, achieving the notable milestone of 40 years’ service to Commodore and Condor. I look forward to planning our century celebrations with these colleagues in the coming months!’

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