RALMAX GROUP OF COMPANIES AND VICTORIA HARBOUR FERRY – THE ODD COUPLE? LOOK MORE CLOSELY….
Majority ownership of Victoria Harbour Ferry was acquired in June 2020 by the Ralmax Group of Companies, eleven local industrial businesses all with some connection to Victoria harbour and the marine transportation highway. At first glance, a marine tourism business and marine industrial businesses might seem like an odd pairing, however for Ralmax President and CEO, local entrepreneur, Ian Maxwell, the impacts of the health pandemic revealed an important opportunity to invest in ensuring that the well-loved, iconic pickle boats remained an integral part of the broader community’s marine experience on Victoria harbour for the citizens of the region. While a spontaneous decision underpinned by Maxwell’s quiet but deep commitment to his community, it wasn’t too great a stretch to see the intersections of these two seemingly disparate entities. Victoria Harbour Ferry and the industrial marine companies that are part of the Ralmax Group on Victoria harbour have shared entertainment and visual interest values. Industrial tourism is a real thing. Hop aboard a Victoria Harbour Ferry and learn more.
Ian Maxwell: “A healthy, stable, vibrant community requires a diverse economic base so that when the unexpected happens and one sector suffers, other sectors can step up and keep the local economy functioning. COVID-19 has been very instructive in this regard. While Ralmax businesses experienced few challenges, the tourism sector, one of our region’s primary economic generators, was hit first and the hardest by the global health pandemic. Among the tourism businesses at risk, was Victoria Harbour Ferry, an iconic, local business that had been operating to the delight of locals and visitors alike for more than 30 years – the same period of time during which I have been a passionate champion of responsible industry and the preservation of employment lands – lands that produce high-value jobs.
For me, and I believe for the majority of local residents, there was, and continues to be, a responsibility to support local businesses in every possible way during this very difficult period of uncertainty brought on by the health pandemic. The bright yellow Victoria Harbour Ferry pickle boats are a symbol of good times and part of what makes being in Victoria unique and memorable whether you are a passenger or simply watching the little ferry boats float by. Victoria Harbour Ferry is important to the community, to the tourism sector, and to those of us who are part of the working harbour. Simply put, Ralmax was in a position to help, so we did. And through this seemingly unusual acquisition, I realized that our family of industrial businesses and our new tourism venture had more in common than I initially thought. Our industrial businesses are not only an important source of jobs and economic contributors in the region, our businesses are engaged with the broader community hosting open houses and opening our sites to support arts groups, and on a daily basis, the work that we undertake is a source of visual interest and entertainment. If you walk, drive or cycle along Harbour Road, you will see hundreds of people of all ages and abilities stopping throughout the day to watch our skilled employees bringing ships out of the water up onto blocks at Point Hope Maritime, or assembling large fabricated projects being constructed over a period of months on our lay down area by United Engineering. These two businesses are Ralmax Group companies and they are an integral part of our city’s unique industrial tourism landscape.
We are proud to welcome Victoria Harbour Ferry to the Ralmax Group and invite you to board a pickle boat or one of the electric vessels and come and meet the rest of the Ralmax family on the upper harbour.”