NorseMerchant Ferries, a subsidiary of Cenargo International
, is to introduce a third vessel to its Liverpool – Belfast service. Built in 1996, the 2,119 lane metre Lindarosa will join Mersey Viking and Lagan Viking on this route from 4 September 2002, increasing the number of daily sailings available to three on Tuesdays to Saturdays and two on Sundays and Mondays.
A dedicated freight vessel, Lindarosa will carry up to 150 trailers and a maximum of 12 drivers. Phillip Shepherd, Managing Director of NorseMerchant Ferries, comments:
“It was always part of our planning to add this third ship once we transferred our operations to our new riverside terminal, Twelve Quays. On our old terminal, we simply didn’t have the space to increase the number of sailings.
“Since moving to Twelve Quays, we have increased the number of sailings from ten to 12 per week; two a day except on Sundays and Mondays when we have just one sailing. This has been made possible simply because our ships can now round-trip in 24 hours; this was impossible when operating from our old berth in the enclosed dock system.
“Lindarosa will add another five sailings a week in each direction to our schedule and offer more choice to our unaccompanied traffic. This will have the bonus of freeing up space for accompanied vehicles on our 22:30 sailing where demand is very high.”
Mersey Viking and Lagan Viking, which also carry passengers, provide sailings from Liverpool and Belfast at 10:30 and 22:30. Lindarosa will sail from Liverpool at 03.00 and 15:00 from Belfast, thus complementing the present schedule, explains NorseMerchant Ferries’ Freight Sales Director, Declan Cleary:
“Discussion with existing and potential customers identified a real need for the 03:00 sailing. Because of the Lindarosa’s 19 knot service speed, late loading vehicles are still able to achieve deliveries in Belfast from mid-day onwards. Similarly, the 15:00 sailing allows delivery throughout the UK mainland during the early hours of the next day.”
Liverpool – Belfast vessels have been sailing out of the purpose-built Twelve Quays terminal since mid-June, with the Dublin service set to follow in early September. As its vessels no longer have to pass through Liverpool’s enclosed dock system, NorseMerchant Ferries is able to shave approximately one hour off sailing times.
NorseMerchant has also announced that it has chartered the 1995-built Norse Mersey to replace Dawn Merchant on its Liverpool – Dublin service. This exchange is set to take place when the Dublin service transfers to Twelve Quays next month. Norse Mersey is no stranger to Liverpool having previously been employed by NorseMerchant Ferries (then Norse Irish Ferries) on the Liverpool-Belfast route between 1995 and 1997. Declan Cleary explains that Norse Mersey will offer slightly more freight capacity than Dawn Merchant:
“As on the Belfast route, we are looking to increase freight capacity to Dublin. Norse Mersey can carry around 150 trucks and 60 drivers; unfortunately, she cannot carry private cars and their passengers but demand for this is not so strong in the winter months.”
Dawn Merchant, owned by Cenargo, has been chartered to Norfolkline and will join her two sisters Northern Merchant and Midnight Merchant on the Dover-Dunkirk route. Michael Hendry, Chairman of Cenargo International, explains:
“Norfolkline has been very successful with Northern Merchant and Midnight Merchant and now wants to improve frequency. Chartering Dawn Merchant
, an identical vessel, is the ideal solution as it maintains uniformity in the fleet.”
Three other ships, Northern Merchant, Midnight Merchant and Dawn Merchant are currently chartered out to Norfolkline for its Dover-Dunkirk service.
On the Heysham route, which is much favoured by hauliers, NorseMerchant Ferries deploys
the Cenargo vessels Merchant Brilliant, Merchant Bravery and River Lune on its Belfast service and the Saga Moon and chartered Varbola on its Dublin service.