A new ferry service linking the Caribbean will have its inaugural launch on October 20.
This service will focus more on the Eastern Caribbean taking in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent and Grenada. The plan is to add more islands as it becomes more established. According to BEDY Oceanlines, the service will be offered daily with two bases: one in St Vincent responsible for the St Vincent to Barbados and St Lucia routes, the other in Grenada which will service the Grenada to Trinidad and Barbados route.
The Jamaica Observer has posted an analysis of the importance to the region of the new ferry service. Here are some excerpts from the piece, with a link to the complete article below:
One of the main hindrances to the effectiveness of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) has been a viable and workable regional transportation system. BWIA, Air Jamaica, LIAT, and Caribbean Star have all failed to effectively link the region. Air Jamaica’s EC Express showed some promise but was stymied by regional politics and lack of support.
It costs almost as much to go to New York or London and takes about the same time as it does to travel across the region. Compounding matters further is having to wait for hours for connecting flights, thus making air travel around the region both costly and arduous. Many inter-island air travellers bemoan the decision taken to restrict baggage on aircraft and cite it as yet another reason why flying across the region is such an exasperating affair.
This new ferry service aims to address some of these problems. Fares will come in at around US$150 (inclusive of relevant government taxes) round trip and travellers will not be restricted to just one piece of luggage. They will be allowed to carry two pieces weighing 60 pounds. This will make ferry prices a third of the price of a standard inter-island air ticket. The journey will be made as comfortable as possible and will cater to families as well as business travellers. It is also intended to boost intra-island trade.