83.2 F
Cruz Bay
Friday, September 30, 2022


The Port Authority Governing Board approved a $2.50 cargo wharfage fee for ferry boats operating between St. Thomas and St. John and a berthing fee for all vessels docked overnight at public ports on Wednesday. It decided to hold off for six months on implementing a user fee of 25 cents per passenger for ferries traveling between the two islands.
The cargo wharfage fee, to be assessed to barge owners for transporting non-commercial vehicles in either direction between St. Thomas and St. John, is to take effect in 60 days.
So is the overnight docking fee of 15 cents per foot, which will be charged to all vessels except ferries and barges which use Port Authority dock facilities between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. when not engaged in loading or unloading passengers or cargo.
The board decided not to apply the same fee to ferries and barges until the Planning and Natural Resources Department deals with the lack of mooring space in Cruz Bay. These vessels must tie up the Port Authority docks now because no moorings are available, a Port Authority press release noted. Planning and Natural Resources is responsible for issuing mooring permits.
With regard to the ferry passenger user fee, Port Authority executive director Gordon Finch said it would be "unfair for us to assess a fee at this point without allowing the ferry companies time" to seek approval of rate increases to compensate for the fee costs.
In order to increase fees, the companies must first obtain the approval of the Public Services Commission. Finch said the six month period would allow the PSC to review the rate structures.
Finch has noted previously that vessels operating between St. Thomas and St. Croix and between St. Thomas and the British Virgin Islands already pay user fees higher than those to be implemented for boats operating between St. Thomas and St. John.

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