If everything goes smoothly, Sealink and Fullers may face competition on their Waiheke routes in the next 18 months. Sea Waiheke is working to set up another service out of Kennedy Point, starting with a new electric ferry which could hold 35 vehicles and up to 150 passengers. The ferry, equipped with e-bike chargers, would travel between a purpose-built pontoon at Ōrākei Landing and Kennedy Point. After over a year of consultation with Auckland Council and the Ōrākei and Waiheke local boards, Sea Waiheke is close to submitting a resource consent application.
Sea Waiheke spokesman Simon Jones says Sealink and Fullers are great operators but there is clearly more demand than they have the capacity for – more than enough for a third, smaller operator.
As a former Sealink chief executive, Simon says he understands the challenge of providing reliable services during an ongoing skill shortage. “Competition is essential to drive innovation and value,” he says. “Those two have dominated services to the island for the better part of 40 years.” • Paul Mitchell

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