P&O Cairnryan freight volumes recover.
P&O Ferries have announced they handled the largest volume of freight in 5 years on the Larne to Cairnryan route during 2016. Some 206,700 freight units were handled on the route during the last 12 months, and increase of some 7.5% on 2015. 2011 was of course the year Stena introduced their Superfast twins on the competing Belfast to Cairnryan operation, and so P&O have now recovered their volumes to levels similar to those before Stena introduced their ‘new’ ships.
2016 was also the first ever year in which none of the 4,774 sailings scheduled from Larne was cancelled. 97% of those sailings departed within 10 minutes of their published time.
Neal Mernock, P&O Ferries' Director responsible for the Irish Sea, said: "This highly encouraging performance shows that the economy of Northern Ireland is continuing to grow, notwithstanding the uncertainty heralded by the Brexit vote in June. We invested GBP 500,000 last year in our two purpose-built ferries on the route to upgrade facilities and passenger areas on the ships. This has already paid a dividend in terms of increasing customer satisfaction with our services."
"The frequency of sailings, short crossings, excellent reliability and the fact that the port is now only 30 minutes from Belfast by road via the newly built A2 (ED: He means the A8 surely?) are increasingly making Larne the gateway of choice for anyone exporting to or from Northern Ireland. We have seen particularly strong volumes of agricultural and dairy produce, household and stores goods, building materials and machinery."
P&O operate the purpose built European Causeway and European Highlander between Larne and Cairnryan, offering up to 7 crossings a day.
Title image: European Highlander leaves Larne in the freshly applied new P&O livery during May 2015. Copyright © Gary Andrews.