Seatruck Invests to Double Capacity

Friday, March 18, 2005
IRISH Sea freight ferry operator Seatruck Ferries has ordered two new ro-ro freight ferries from Spain's Astilleros de Huelva. When they enter service in 2007 they will be able to move 130,000 freight trailers per annum on Seatruck's Warrenpoint - Heysham route, more than doubling present capacity.

Seatruck's general manager Alistair Eagles says, "This is fantastic news for all of our freight customers. We have been running at full capacity for some time now and cannot satisfy demand for our efficient, no-frills freight service. With the support of our parent group, Clipper Group Ltd, we can make this major investment which will move more trailers faster and more reliably on this key route."

The two new vessels will replace the current ferries Riverdance and Moondance, which currently provide a twice-daily service carrying 55 units each per sailing and around 58,000 units annually. The new ferries will be purpose-built to be the maximum size for Heysham and Warrenpoint, and at 142 m loa will each carry in excess of 120 standard trailers. The vessels will have a service speed of 22 knots, reducing the current crossing time from nine hours to just 6.5 hours. This will permit a much later evening sailing time, with an earlier start for morning deliveries, and provide a greater reserve in case of bad weather.

Both Warrenpoint Harbour Authority and Heysham Port are committed to investment in new terminal facilities purpose-built to permit efficient loading and discharge. "Our investment in new vessels, and investment by the ports in new facilities, will bring significant economic benefits to the local communities on both sides of the Irish Sea," says Eagles.

Seatruck is widely recognised within the haulage community as providing unparalleled levels of service to its freight clients, who value the customer-focused approach of the close-knit Seatruck team. Seatruck was named the Irish Sea Shipping Line of the year last year, and is confident that substantial growth in the unaccompanied trailer freight market will underpin its new investments and increased capacity. "We are talking to more and more operators who are moving towards unaccompanied shipments on the Irish Sea. There will be further increases in this market," says Eagles. "There continues to be significant volume of new traffic flows from our natural Warrenpoint hinterland. These new vessels will maximize the benefits of unaccompanied shipments for our users."

Seatruck Ferries was established in 1996 to meet the Irish Sea transportation needs of the haulage industry. The company operates with a tight team from its head office in Warrenpoint.

Operating between Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland & Heysham, Lancashire, Seatruck offers operators real choice in a market place dominated by a small number of large players. Seatruck provides an alternative to other operators who are obliged to compromise by catering for the needs of both passengers and freight.

Seatruck Ferries is part of Bahamas-based Clipper Group Ltd, a major shipping consortium owning, operating and managing a fleet of some 235 vessels mainly within bulk transportation (handysize, handymax and panamax), MPP/Project transportation and product/chemical carriage. Clipper Group has global offices servicing its clients worldwide.

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