Isle of Man Ferry Services Survey

Closed 7 Oct 2018

Opened 21 Sep 2018


The Department of Infrastructure is asking for your views on how ferry services to and from the Isle of Man should be delivered in future.  

This survey has been designed to allow both individuals and businesses to contribute to the agreement that will lay down the requirements that the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Limited will have to meet over the years to come.  

The User Agreement

The User Agreement exists to make sure that the Island has secure and reliable ferry services. It was first introduced in 1995 and gives the Steam Packet almost exclusive use of the Department’s linkspan in return for guarantees on various aspects of the ferry services including quality, price and reliability. Before this agreement there was only one linkspan. As that linkspan was owned by the Steam Packet it could not be used by anyone else, meaning that there was almost no freight service when industrial action was being taken. The User Agreement has been extended a number of times since 1995 and would have continued until 2026. However, in May 2018 Tynwald agreed that the Isle of Man Government should buy the shares in the Steam Packet and that a new User Agreement should be signed within a year.  

Although the User Agreement has provided a range of benefits over the years, including new vessels, special offer fares and improved services, we now have the opportunity to review how well the User Agreement has worked and to decide what should be included in a new agreement. This new agreement will be called the Strategic Sea Services Agreement.  

Government owns shares – the company runs independently

Although Government now owns the shares in the Steam Packet, the company continues to run independently. It is not part of the Isle of Man Government and needs a long-term agreement to use the Department’s linkspan so that it can secure the investment that is needed in new vessels and other improvements. The Steam Packet remains an independent commercial company. It is operating at arms-length from Government and will need to make sure that its operations are successful and profitable.   

Why We Are Consulting

The Department of Infrastructure wants to make sure that it requires the Isle of Man Steam Packet to provide the services that are needed to make sure that the Island can succeed, both socially and economically.  

Before negotiating the new Strategic Sea Services Agreement with the Steam Packet, the Department would like to understand the needs of individuals and businesses.  


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