The purchase of our island passenger and barge services by Adelaide based transport company SeaLink for $125 million, could provide a huge boost to island tourism.
The company transformed itself from a two-vessel operation to Kangaroo Island 25 years ago to a publicly listed national tourism and transport business spanning four states and now more than 60 vessels to its name.
SeaLink runs successful and tourism-award winning operations in South Australia on Sydney Harbour with Captain Cook Cruises, in Darwin as well as Townsville.
The acquisition of Stradbroke Ferries operation from Transit Systems, seems like a natural fit for the company.
Transit, which has operated Stradbroke Ferries and Bay Island Transit Systems for some years now, has a background more in bus transport than marine services.
The sale to SeaLink is not disclosed, but is believed to be in the millions.
Prior to the sale, SeaLink boasted about 30 vessels in its fleet.
The acquisition of Stradbroke Ferries and BITS will add a further 30 vessels to their fleet.
The sale involves Transit Systems's two marine businesses - one in Gladstone and the other based here servicing North Stradbroke Island and the southern islands of Moreton Bay.
In Redland Bay, it owns the Bay Islands Transit Systems water taxi to the southern bay islands and the barge service both of which operate out of Weinam Creek.
It also owns ferries and barges to North Stradbroke Island which operate out of Cleveland's Toondah Harbour and the Moggill Ferry which services the Brisbane River.
Stradbroke Ferries chief executive, David Thomson, says the purchase of the marine division he heads is a ‘natural fit’ for SeaLink.
“SeaLink is a marine company that has extensive and award-winning experience in services similar to our operations, as well as high-brand tourism operations.
“I think it will be a win, win situation for the islands,” he told The Friendly Bay Islander.
“It is a wonderful upside for island tourism, given the expertise that comes with the acquisition.
“It also has implications for staff who have some major future career options,” he said.
He added that the new ownership would have no affect on operations or pricing.
“Straddie Ferries will still be making its own decisions,” the CEO added.
The new ownership has been welcomed by Redland City Council Mayor Karen
“Translink have run a barge and ferry service to our islands for many years with great success and professionalism.
“The transition to SeaLink, however, should be great for the Redlands and our island community.
“SeaLink clearly have expertise in marine operations and are award-winning tourism practitioners. I can only see positives for our tourism and marine operations,” she said.