Friday, December 16, 2011

Another RoRo Freight Ferry Service Bites the Dust

P&O Suspend Operations from Troon
Shipping News Feature

UK – P&O has ceased its RoRo freight operations between Troon and Larne, County Antrim which means trucks will now have to divert to Cairnryan which locals complain will cause more congestion on the busy A77. The P&O website states that the service is due to ‘ship technical difficulties and will resume service in the New Year’. With only a single freight ferry in their fleet capable of navigating in the shallow waters of Troon harbour it seems that a breakdown two weeks ago has persuaded the company it would be better to abandon the supposedly loss making service altogether. In a statement to the Handy Shipping Guide P&O General Manager for Ireland, Charlie Green said:

“P&O Ferries has announced that with immediate effect all Northern Irish Sea freight services will be consolidated on to the Larne – Cairnryan route. The transfer of freight services from Troon to Cairnryan offers our customers more frequency on the shortest ferry route between mainland Britain and Ireland.

“The company spent much of last year carefully considering ways of developing its business on the Irish Sea and has examined a variety of options for services from Troon. With the constraints of the harbour and the lack of available suitable ships to replace the ageing, shallow draft Norcape it has been concluded that the current freight service is no longer viable from Troon.

“Rising vessel and fuel costs have made the primarily unaccompanied service from Troon unsustainable in the current economic climate. The fast craft service from Troon to Larne which can accommodate some smaller commercial vehicles will continue to operate between March and October.”

The company go on to say they regret any inconvenience but hope to rely on the continued support of customers. Locals are reported to be unhappy with the decision as the all year round service was, they say, an essential economic ingredient during winter months and the fears that the passenger service might also cease are now their principal concern.

Photo: Norcape in happier days.