With effect from 1st June 2009, the surcharge for new bookings will reduce from £5.00 single per passenger to £3.50 and the surcharge on freight will be reduced by 53 pence from £5 per metre to £4.47 per metre. This follows the £3 reduction to the freight fuel surcharge in the last review on 1st March 2009.

The fuel surcharge is calculated in strict accordance with the terms of the new agreement with the Department of Transport and is now based 50 per cent on the weighted average marine fuel cost incurred over the three months prior to the review date and 50 per cent on the forecasted costs forward three months.

Future reviews, under the new fuel surcharge agreement, will take place every three months. Surcharges will be based on fluctuations in both gas oil and heavy fuel oil.

When formulating the new agreement the Department of Transport took on board all the various Select Committee recommendations and also consulted with hauliers, Travelwatch and the Office of Fair Trading.

The fuel surcharge is included in the price displayed on the Steam Packet Company website and will continue to be monitored by the Department of Transport.

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive, Mark Woodward, said: ‘This latest review of the fuel surcharge has been carried out in strict accordance with the new agreement with the Department of Transport and will take effect immediately from June 1.

‘This new agreement is good news for both the Steam Packet Company and the Isle of Man and has resulted in a substantial fall in the surcharge for passengers and a further reduction in the rate for freight, which fell by 37% at the previous review in March. The new agreement reflects current market rates and forecasts, as per the Select Committee preference, and three-monthly reviews will reflect market changes more promptly than the old agreement.’

Minister for Transport David Anderson MHK said: ‘The Department studied the Select Committee recommendations carefully and consulted widely before drawing up the new agreement. We’re confident that any flaws there may have been under the old agreement have now been adequately addressed.

‘In particular, the three-monthly reviews should be welcomed by both general passengers and freight customers, as one of the major issues with the old agreement was that it was felt there was too long between reviews and, as such, the fuel surcharges did not reflect the changes in the market quickly enough.’