In November 2015 Seatruck Ferries, added a third vessel to its Liverpool Dublin route. What does this mean for freight ferry customers?
A number of key benefits arise from the introduction of the extra ferry - namely the capacity on the route will increase, so there'll be more space and berths for van and lorry drivers.
Why now? The Liverpool to Dublin route is extremely popular and the demand for capacity grew during 2014. The change to the timetable means there are additional midweek departures providing this extra capacity on the Dublin route. This demand came from unaccompanied traffic crossing on this route. A need was identified by Seatruck's customer services that it had to support this demand and accordingly make changes to reflect the change - a shortage of drivers in both Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Driver shortages are causing operators to reassess their traditional accompanied systems. Seatruck Ferries has identified that a switch now to support greater volumes of unaccompanied vehicles will benefit both customer and company in 2016.
This move will support existing Seatruck ferry services operating across Heysham, Warrenpoint, and Dublin. In addition, the transit time to the Port of Heysham from the M6 will dramatically reduce the transit time once the M6 link via Lancaster is complete.
Seatruck CEO Alistair Eagles commented that the company was delighted with the extra the deployment of additional tonnage on the Liverpool Dublin route. October had been another record month for this Irish Sea service and good things are expected in 2016.
Certainly, for freight customers the extra capacity will mean more choice, better service, and will support improved logistics planning longer term.