P&O Ferries has cut a swathe through gathering UK economic headwinds, with the highest number of lorries and trailers carried on its ferries between Larne and Cairnryan in the third trading quarter in six years.
The ferry and logistics company – which operates the shortest and most frequent ferry services between Northern Ireland and Dumfries and Galloway – carried 53,305 lorries and trailers on its ships for the months of July, August and September.
This was up 3.3 per cent on the same quarter last year and the highest since Q3 2011.
Neal Mernock, P&O Ferries sector director on the Irish Sea, said: “We are delighted that more and more freight customers are experiencing for themselves the benefits of transporting goods between Northern Ireland and Britain with us.
“Our port at Larne is fast becoming the gateway of choice for anyone exporting to or from Ireland. It has outstanding connections via rail and road, especially after the upgrading of the A8 dual carriageway, and is nine miles closer to Scotland than the port at Belfast.”
Mernock added that P&O’s two-hour journey time on its sailings on the route was 30 minutes shorter than those of its competitors. “This means that lorry drivers can spend less time on the ships and more time on the road,” he said.
P&O Ferries operates seven sailings a day between Larne and Cairnryan using two 21,000-tonne sister vessels, European Causeway and European Highlander.
The regular daily service provides a bridge for goods being transported between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to mainland Britain, and also on to the Continent via its connecting services from Dover, Tilbury, Hull and Teesport.
In all, P&O Ferries sails on eight major routes between the UK, France, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium. It operates more than 20 vessels which carry ten million passengers, 1.6 million cars and 2.2 million freight units every year.
A P&O Ferrymasters-owned rail terminal in the northern Romanian city of Oradea, which helps move goods between western Europe and Asia, became operational last year. Together with its logistics division, P&O Ferrymasters, the company also operates integrated road and rail links to countries across the Continent including Italy, Poland and Romania.