The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company recently conducted a public consultation to gather views on whether a move to the Port of Larne in Northern Ireland was feasible.
The ferry company currently operates from Douglas to Albert Quay in Belfast, however they are currently investigating whether relocating to Larne would help to boost visitor numbers and provide a service for heavier vehicles such as vans and trucks.
Relocating to Larne would also provide better facilities, shops and parking. It would also allow IoM Steam Packet vessels to carry coaches and motorhomes which cannot be loaded at Belfast's Albert Quay.
Currently used by P&O Ferries for passenger services, the operator ferries Ben-my-Chree and Manannan have already conducted tests at the Larne berthing facilities to ensure that it is suitable for both vessels.
"As part of our ongoing review of routes to ensure the best passenger experience possible is offered, we identified that Larne could deliver an enhanced service compared with the Belfast facilities. However, it was important to us to find out what our passengers think, and I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the online survey."
– IoM Steam Packet Company Chief Executive, Mark Woodward
The public consultation survey has now closed with more than 3,000 responses received. A detailed report and a final decision regarding the fate of the Douglas - Belfast route will follow in the next few weeks.