Thursday, February 10, 2011

Container Freight Service Abandoned For Lack Of Cargo

Much Heralded Island Box Carrier Project Founders
Shipping News Feature

ISLE OF MAN - UK - The container service launched by Mezeron between Liverpool and the Island which we announced in October and which by November was causing controversy as the likely loss of traffic by the rival Steam Packet Company was fully realised is no more having been abandoned due to lack of freight. December saw questions asked in the Island’s Parliament over the entire future of ferry services to the island and that matter may not yet end here.

The decision to close the service was officially announced today after some speculation and was met with jubilation by union members who represent some Steam Packet staff. In January the company withdrew the Snaefell ‘fastcraft’ from their own service causing the loss of 29 jobs amongst full time and seasonal employees. This decision followed a review of services and tariffs brought about by the competition the new box service offered.

Steam Packet issued statistics to say they lost around 15% of their mainland business to Mezeron and today the RMT union representative Bob Crowe described the failed service as ‘an opportunist move’ saying :

"RMT, our sister unions and our supporters in the community have sent out the clearest message that we will defend proper rates of pay and the highest quality of service in the UK ferry industry and that warning should be heeded by others who might be thinking of undermining our members' jobs, their rates of pay and their working conditions.”

A statement from Mezeron boss Jorg Vanselow said the daily freight service would end on the 19th February commenting:

“At Mezeron we strongly believe that all our decisions must be customer driven so they can choose what suits their requirements best. We set out to prove that we can offer a first class container service to the island – and we did. This project was always ambitious and I make no apology for that. Unfortunately on this occasion we did not see the volume growth expected and necessary to continue this service profitably.”

The company will maintain its services from Glasson Dock and Belfast to the Isle of Man carrying container freight and general cargo.

Photo: Courtesy of Mezeron