Nobody can criticise Seatruck for a lack of confidence in the Irish Sea unaccompanied market!
Earlier this week the "Seatruck Progress" arrived in Liverpool on her maiden voyage from FSG Flensburg in Germany. The vessel takes Seatruck's unaccompanied business plan on the Irish Sea to a whole new level. The 142m long, 24m beam, 4 deck ship dwarfs other ro-ro ships. Capable of up to 25 knots, the new ship will take up to 35 13.5m trailers more than the outgoing “P” class vessels currently operating on the Liverpool to Dublin and Heysham to Warrenpoint routes.
But why would Seatruck put on increased tonnage, in an Irish market that has gone through a period of consolidation and capacity reductions in order that ferry companies can stem big financial losses? The simple answer is economies of scale. Seatruck and FSG have considered every cost in detail to produce one of the most efficient vessels in the world, giving Seatruck the advantage of lower operating costs on one of the most buoyant routes to Ireland. As an example, the hull has not got a single parallel line making it uber efficient at cutting through the water. As can be seen in the photos here, take a look at the classic "coke" bottle shape of the hull.
"Unlike the outgoing 'P' class ships the 12 drivers will be in shared cabins, but the size and quality of these cabins means that the drivers will still enjoy the excellent standard they are used to. This is one area where costs were cut. After all Seatruck has got to sweat the asset, and make this pay for the Clipper group.
When DFDS stopped the Birkenhead-Dublin route in February 2011, 145,000 units a year dropped into the market place. P&O reacted earlier this year by putting the "Endeavor" on as a 3rd "shoulder" rated service to grab some of the higher paying overnight driving accompanied traffic destined for Dublin. However, the service offering in Holyhead between Irish Ferries and Stena Line is now better than ever, with a sailing nearly every 4-5 hours, making is difficult to tempt driver accompanied business to Liverpool.
At a time when hauliers are under enormous pressure with increasing ferry prices, now that the "Seatruck Progress" has joined the party, with her sister "Seatruck Power" due within the next 12 weeks, Seatruck will have an even better chance at tempting hauliers & distributors to convert to a more cost effective unaccompanied service into Dublin.