In Cape Verde, scheduled reliability of ships that provide for both passengers and cargo is the subject of much complaint by locals and tourists alike. Ask anyone who has ventured the waters of Cape Verde and you will likely hear horror stories about ferries with regular delays of hours or even days. These trends of undependable martitime transport, in addition to unreliable air connections, have resulted in a severe lack of mobility and inter-island commerce.
The current vessels in operation (with few exceptions) are usually handled in a haphazard fashion. They wait for cargo until their operators feel little more is likely to turn up. And they seek out the cheapest possible stevedores possible, which results in much breakage and pilferage of cargo. In addition, none of the general cargo vessels are "in class" and none comply with ISM or ISPS requirements. Thus, insurance for the ships and the cargoes they carry is likely to be unaffordable or unobtainable.
As Cabo Verde Fast Ferry set to begin operations in December 2010, it has remained in a unique position with many competitive advantages and attractive long term prospects for investors. The competing RO-RO (roll on-roll off) fleet is old and inefficient. For example, the ships m/v Armas Mar d’Canal (1970), m/v Tarrafal (1968) and Sal Rei (1969) can hardly hold a candle in comparison to the new and modern vessels m/v KRIOLA and m/v LIBERDADI, both built in 2010. CV Fast Ferry's fleet is smaller, faster, uses smaller crews, burns less fuel and is designed to fulfill the promises of more consistent and predictable schedules.
The company is the first IPO ever to register and trade on the Stock Exchange of Cape Verde. It is the first PPP (public-private partnership) in the country and the first to forge a strong and personal relationship with the national and diaspora Cape Verdean community. Over eighty percent of its heavily subscribed 1.5 million bonds were purchased by resident Cape Verdeans. The municipality of Brava, where Kriola is based, owns 51% of the shares, giving it a controlling interest in the company and, in effect, making it a predominantly public-owned entity. The launch of CV Fast Ferry has also benefited from subsidies and endorsements from the central government.
In a sense, Cabo Verde Fast Ferry is one of the pillars of the transformation of the Republic of Cape Verde. It is also a solid investment opportunity with a high potential for positive impact on the nation's burgeoning economy.