CLdN to buy Seatruck Ferries from Clipper Group

By: Steven Tarbox
Last updated:
SEATRUCK PERFORMANCE. Image: Seatruck Ferries.
SEATRUCK PERFORMANCE. Image: Seatruck Ferries.

One of Europe’s leading providers of multimodal logistics, CLdN, has agreed to acquire all of the shares of Seatruck Ferries from its current owner Clipper Group.  The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, will see Luxembourg-based CLdN further expand its operations on the island of Ireland by acquiring the leading RoRo-only operator on the Irish Sea.  

Seatruck Ferries was founded in 1996 with a single leased vessel sailing on the Warrenpoint – Heysham route.  The company now transports close to 20% of all Irish Sea cargo on its routes between Warrenpoint and Heysham, Dublin and Heysham, and Dublin and Liverpool.  

The Seatruck Ferries’ brand will be retained and the company will continue to be run by the existing management team, lead by CEO Alistair Eagles, once the deal closes.   As a result of the transaction, which is expected to complete before the end of 2022, Clipper Group will exit the ferry business and concentrate its resources on bulk shipping.

A Major Player

Luxembourg-based CLdN already has a significant presence in both the United Kingdom and Ireland.  While the company is probably best known for its North Sea operations using the Cobelfret brand, CLdN also offers destinations in Scandinavia, Ireland and the Iberian peninsula from its hubs in Belgium and the Netherlands.  Through shipment using multiple routes is also offered, and so it is possible, for instance, to ship a trailer from Cork to Esbjerg or London to Dublin even though there is no direct sailing between those ports.  The CLdN group also has Europe-wide cargo transportation and transport management operations and operates six ports and can trace its history back to 1926.  Earlier this year the company announced that all of its door-to-door, roro and port activities operations will be known simply as CLdN.

CLdN's DELPHINE, one of the largest RoRo ferries in the world, leaves Dublin Port.  Image: CLdN.
CLdN’s DELPHINE, one of the largest RoRo ferries in the world, leaves Dublin Port. Image: CLdN.

Although not a household name like Stena Line or Irish Ferries, CLdN handles a significant amount of the RoRo freight that moves between Ireland and the rest of the EU.  The company dominates Ireland – EU traffic at Dublin Port, which is the market leader in the trade, and uses vessels with more than twice the capacity of the competition.  As with Seatruck, CLdN has also benefited from a continuing shift to unaccompanied transport.  With competition on routes between Ireland and the rest of the EU continuing to increase, most recently with the entry of Grimaldi-owned Finnlines on the Ireland – Belgium corridor, the acquisition of Seatruck further strengthens CLdN’s presence in the Irish market.

CLdN presently offers over RoRo 130 sailings per week between the ports of Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, London (Purfleet and Dartford), Killingholme, Liverpool, Dublin, Cork, Gothenburg, Esbjerg, Santander and Porto.  They already operate more than 20 RoRo vessels, some of which are amongst the largest in the world.

CLIPPER POINT and SEATRUCK PROGRESS.  Image: Seatruck Ferries.

The Seatruck acquisition adds a further eight RoRo’s to CLdN’s owned fleet.  These are built to two designs: the 2,166 lane metre FSG-class and the 1,830 lane metre P-class.  Both classes were built to bespoke designs that fit the constraints of Heysham harbour.

The Current Seatruck Fleet

Seatruck ferries currently has an owned fleet of eight vessels, two of which are currently chartered out to Stena Line and P&O Ferries.

NameTypeCurrent Route
Seatruck ProgressFSG-ClassLiverpool – Dublin
Seatruck PowerFSG-ClassLiverpool – Dublin
Clipper PointP-ClassLiverpool – Dublin
Seatruck  Performance FSG-ClassHeysham – Warrenpoint
Seatruck PrecisionFSG-ClassHeysham – Warrenpoint
Seatruck PaceP-ClassHeysham – Dublin
Seatruck PanoramaP-ClassRosslare – Cherbourg
(Stena Line charter)
Clipper PennantP-ClassDublin – Liverpool
(P&O Ferries charter)

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