We have have signed a significant deal with Peel Ports Group, a major UK port operator, to operate from Heysham Port until 2100. Our twice daily freight service from Belfast-Heysham provides a vital trade corridor between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
The collaborative agreement demonstrates the strong working partnership between Peel Ports Group and us and seeks to further strengthen our long-term relationship.
Earlier this year we announced that we will be making a multi-million-pound investment in the Belfast-Heysham route with two new-build state-of-the-art ‘NewMax’ ferries, which will boost freight capacity by 80%. With the first vessel due to begin on the route in 2025, these hybrid ferries will be equipped to operate on methanol fuel marking a key milestone in our roadmap to sustainable shipping.
Collaboratively with Peel Ports we plan to invest in new terminal management and a ‘smart gate’ automatic check-in system to improve customer experience at the port, and will increase the parking for trailers to accommodate the additional capacity of the new vessels.
In addition, we will aim to secure the shore infrastructure to provide additional electrical capacity to facilitate the future goal of powering the new ships by green shore power. This will be a further step in a long-term ambition to establish a green shipping corridor.
Our business on our Belfast-Heysham route has thrived in recent years and is a vital connection for freight transport across the Irish Sea. With the upcoming introduction of our NewMax hybrid ships, this route represents a unique opportunity for us to offer our freight customers more sustainable transport between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK and will be a key milestone in our sustainability journey.
Following our signing of the Birkenhead 12 Quays deal earlier this year, this agreement re-enforces our long-term commitment to Peel Ports Group and further strengthens our partnership. Heysham is an important hub for our Irish Sea business, and we’ve been developing our operations here year on year. We’re excited for the future of the route and to building on its current success.