POSTED: 11 MAY 2008 - 5:00am HST

Is the Superferry Running on Fumes?

image above: 7/13/07 trip showing interior main dining room of Superferry. By macprohawaii

Reviewing a Simple Statistician's Trick
by Brad Parsons on 11 May 2008 on

One way to compare numbers to show an increase is to quote first for a day, then 4 days, and then 7 days or a week. For example when daily numbers are only slightly increasing, first quote the following:

From PBN:
'Over the past Friday through Monday we moved 2,000 passengers and 540 cars and trucks.'
[That is an average of 250 pass. and 68 vehicles per one way.]

Then, the next numbers released to the media, make them for 7 days, or a week:

From Maui News:
'The company did not release specific numbers for Friday's sailings, but said more than 4,600 passengers were booked through the week.'
[That is an average of 209 passengers and an estimated avg. of 69 (low) 84 (mid) 105 (high) vehicles per one way.]

However you slice and dice it, these numbers on average still don't even cover fuel costs, and they show only inconsistent, slightly increased real numbers.

A quick thumbnail comparison for everybody.

image above: 7/13/07 interior Superferry "coach" seating area. By macprohawaii

The company needs to run a little more than the first quarter capacity of ridership and vehicles just to cover fuel costs. By its publicly disclosed expenses, assuming those were accurate, it needs the second and third quarters of capacity in ridership and vehicles to cover the rest of its expenses.

That leaves just the last quarter of full capacity ridership for this vessel to actually make money and be a long-term, viable 'going concern.' They are a long way from that, and quite frankly given constraints built into this thing, I don't see how they'll ever get to it.

If Fargo can actually get this and the second vessel up to 3/4 capacity ridership within the next 1 to 2 years, should the company last that long, then he and Lehman might qualify for some sort of Global Businessmen of the Year award.



POSTED: 10 MAY 2008 - 5:00am HST

Superferry: Ridership on May 9th (two trips)

image above: Love's Bread Truck loads onto Superferry on Maui 5/9/08. By Brad Parsons.
[Editor's Note: "Please don't deny the outer islands the healthful benefits of fluffy white bread"]

by Brad Parsons 9 May 2008 on

Vessel would have encountered 11 ft wind waves in Kaiwi or 12 ft wind waves in Pailolo this morning.

Operations appear to have changed substantially. Offloading was fast and in two lanes, therefore only a close estimate count could be taken.

estimtate 120 vehicles,
estimate 200 to 240 people,
and 8 motorcycles.

Vehicles offloaded in two stages, indicating both decks were used. The vehicle count includes 2 large semis with large trailers, 1 other small container truck, 3 other large commercial trucks including at least 1 refrigerated truck, 1 FedEx truck, and 1 truck with a horse trailer. Did not notice indication of significant Roberts activity today, a rough day in the channels.

Fuel costs were likely covered with this run from Oahu.

estimate 75 vehicles,
estimate 150 people,
and 2 motorcycles.

Vehicles onloading appeared to be also using both decks, probably to make room for the large trucks on the bottom deck loading last. The vehicle count includes 2 large semis with large trailers, 3 other large commercial trucks including at least 1 refrigerated truck, 1 FedEx truck, and 1 tow truck towing a car onboard. Fuel costs alone were NOT likely covered with this run from Maui to Oahu.

Spoke with Hawaiian 'Maka'ala' John at harbor again this morning. He pointed out all of the algae coming ashore most days now. He said the algae used to wash ashore only infrequently. He said he thinks it's related to the last report he gave.

image above: Photo in Kahului Harbor 5/9/08 by Brad Parsons. See

Came in early a little before 6:00pm because it left Honolulu early before 3:00pm.
Report is from long-time friend onboard the vessel, retired former senior hotel manager.

estimate 60 vehicles,
estimate 120 people.
No commercial vehicles seen.

No indication of group 'overnighter' travel company. Passenger reports Pailolo was rough and some passengers did get seasick.

For Onloading figures relying upon a Maui Tomorrow rep. and a reporter she spoke with plus a few more I counted later onloading.

estimate less than 60 vehicles.
People not counted.
No commercial vehicles seen.

Neither leg of evening run covered even fuel costs.

Maui Police Department told the Maui Tomorrow rerpresentative that they had noticed a lot of Department of Defense base stickers on the cars coming from Oahu earlier today and in prior days. It looked to MPD like many military or civil service personnel from Oahu taking the ferry for a few days vacation. Makes sense given new leadership.

see also:
Island Breath: Fargo hits the proaganda trail
Island Breath: HSF still makes no sense
Island Breath: HSF names Admiral CEO
Island Breath: HSF audit shows crime
Island Breath: HSF to restart service
Island Breath: HSF Task Force Reports
Island Breath: HSF after the fact EIS
Island Breath: HSF dry docked
Island Breath: HSF Rudder Mess