The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group has announced that it is investing more than £1.5 million to upgrade its freight services.

This includes an investment of £150,000 in chilled and freezer container storage, ensuring that perishable chilled and frozen goods are delivered to the islands at the same temperature that they arrive on the quayside in Penzance.


The Mali Rose is due to enter service this autumn and will replace the Gry Maritha, which has brought supplies to the islands for the last 27 years.


The Mali Rose will continue to make the trip three times a week but will have greater capacity, being 12.6 metres longer and a metre wider than the Gry Maritha.


The Norwegian-built vessel was acquired by the Steamship Group in May and is currently being upgraded in Penzance Dry Dock.


A new, heavy lift crane is currently being installed and will be able to lift 15 tonnes – well over twice the current six tonne limit of the crane on Gry Maritha – and allow the transportation of a much wider mix of specialised freight, including large vehicles.


Chief Executive Rob Goldsmith said: “These investments will vastly improve the cold chain delivery service and is part of our commitment to improve the lifeline freight services we provide.


“With the increase in capacity we will be able to load freight and store items in a more accessible location, which means we can unload faster and offer more flexibility. We are also planning to introduce a new freight booking system during the winter which will allow us to track freight from the point of receipt to the point of delivery or collection by others. We believe this will be a significant benefit for island residents and all of our customers."


Chairman Andrew May added: “The Board has as its clear mission to safeguard and improve the scheduled transport links to the islands over the longer term; the decision to purchase and upgrade the Mali Rose was taken very much with these objectives in mind.”


The purchase of the Mali Rose is one of the number of investments totaling £15 million made by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group in the last seven years to upgrade transport links to and from the islands.


The company has built a new terminal and hard runways at Land’s End Airport, purchased an eighth aircraft for its Skybus airline service, and invested in new landing technology to improve operating resilience in poor weather.

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