St Helena Government is pleased to announce that following contract negotiations with AW Ship Management Ltd, a contract for the provision of a sea freight service has today been signed between the two parties.
AWSM will provide a freight service to follow on from the RMS St Helena – with cargo being shipped to and from the UK to St Helena via Cape Town as per the current arrangements. The intention is for the new cargo service to continue on as seamlessly as possible from the St Helena Line service – running every 5 weeks from Cape Town to St Helena, moving to every 4 weeks after one year.
In addition, the ship will operate from St Helena to Ascension Island on a bi-monthly basis. A full schedule will be published shortly.
The new service will commence in June this year, and the first call at St Helena is planned for departure from Cape Town on 27 July and arrival to the Island on 2 August 2016.
AW Ship Management will now move ahead with purchasing its own vessel dedicated to the St Helena and Ascension service. The ship selected will be a geared container ship capable of carrying 250 TEU or equivalent. The vessel will be around 100m long, with a breadth of approximately 18m and a summer draft of 4.5m. Thus, AWSM will be able to discharge cargo alongside at Rupert’s Bay even in a fully loaded condition.
Cargo bookings for the new service are now being accepted. AWSM’s agents and contact details remain the same as the current service for ease of transition.
AWSM will be making a small number of passenger cabins available on the new vessel so that passenger sea services can be maintained for those wishing to travel by sea to and from Ascension.
The dedicated ship for this service will be owned by AWSM and operated with the same skill and dedication that has been applied to the RMS St Helena since 2001. The use of a dedicated ship will ensure that a reliable schedule can be maintained.
AWSM has been involved in the shipping of cargo to and from St Helena for sixteen years and is fully aware of the importance of a regular, reliable and direct freight service to the Island.
Notes for Editors
Freight rates have been submitted to SHG for agreement. These will be published in due course and will be broadly the same as the rates for the RMS. It is inevitable that rates for certain types of cargo will have to rise given that the RMS is heavily subsidised, but AWSM has worked hard to ensure that such increases are kept to an absolute minimum.
Pricing will be subject to an agreed adjustment methodology taking account of changes in fuel prices, exchange rates and anticipated volumes. The new service will receive no subsidy.
19 February 2016