Businesses on the Isle of Man are counting the cost of December’s bout of cancelled freight ferries due to adverse weather conditions.
At total of 44 ferry cancellations occurred in December of which 31 were due to prevailing storms and strong winds, which delayed supplies that were at dockside.
Although the Government has released no definitive figures, the loss is believed to be considerable with some small businesses continuing to feel the affects as retailers attempt to resume normal service.
With strong winds and heavy rain forecast for January, concerns were raised that further disruptions may lead to a significant number of lost manufacturing orders. During December repeated cancellations required some Manx companies to use alternative freight firms to ensure deliveries to and from the island.
One local politician posited: “I’ve never known the shops to have empty shelves before.” Although there were 20 days of cancellations, most retailers believe the situation never quite evolved into a crisis. An employee from supermarket chain Co-Operative said, “After a while it got worrying. Although the shelving wasn’t too bad we were waiting over a week before a new delivery arrived.”
The situation has highlighted previous concerns over the long-term future of the Isle of Man. Economic Development Minister John Shimmin has stated that all options are being explored to ensure that the situation does not arise again.