Shipping company Huelin-Renouf stops trading
Channel Island shipping company Huelin-Renouf has stopped trading after urgent talks to save it failed.
In a statement on its website, the company said directors had taken the difficult decision to wind up the business after 80 years of trading.
The directors said the decision to stop trading had not been taken lightly and that the company should be placed into liquidation later in the week.
Accountancy firm Grant Thornton has been approached to act as liquidators.
Another major freight carrier, Condor Ferries, said it could adapt its fleet to offer the "lift-on lift-off" type of freight service Huelin-Renouf operated.
It currently operates a "roll-on roll-off" freight service where cargo is driven off boats instead of being lifted off.
It said: "We have made our services available to carry any freight asked of us in the short term, so as to minimum disruption to islanders.
"This is possible since Condor's freight vessels currently have approximately 50% unused capacity which is enough to transport four times the traffic that Huelin-Renouf carries.
"This sad news comes as a reminder that the markets struggle to accommodate more than one passenger and vehicle ferry provider, and more than one major freight ferry provider."'Vital component'
Jersey's economic development minister, Senator Alan Maclean, said it was not possible to save Huelin-Renouf.
He said the Ports of Jersey would operate a simple port to port "lift-on lift-off" freight service until a private company could be found to establish a permanent operation.
"I have stressed on many occasions that the cost of freight is a vital component of Jersey's economic prosperity and, given that 98% of what we consume is imported through Jersey Harbour, it is important that businesses can operate with the lowest possible freight costs," he said.
The company employs 40 people in Jersey and another 50 in Guernsey, Southampton and Cherbourg.
It operates a "lift-on lift-off" freight service with containers taken off the ship with large cranes.
Huelin-Renouf said in a statement: "The companies are no longer in a position to continue to trade and, in the absence of a potential purchaser, the directors consider that they have had no alternative but to take the decision to terminate all operations."
Jersey politician Deputy Sean Power, who called for the company to be nationalised, praised the work Senator Maclean had done trying to save the company.
He said: "This is a strategic link, 10 out of 10 to Alan Maclean for the work he has put in but it is vital we work to get something in place to ensure we have a 'lift-on lift-off' service this week."