Clipper Panorama, the second of Seatruck Ferries’ eight newbuildings, enters service on the Irish Sea service linking Warrenpoint with Heysham on Sunday, January 25.
This new freight ferry will join sistership Clipper Point on the Warrenpoint-Heysham route, boosting capacity on this service to around 120,000 freight units annually. During 2008 Seatruck Ferries’ vessels carried nearly 90,000 units on this important Irish Sea route.
The third and fourth 22 knot vessels in the series, Clipper Pace and Clipper Pennant, will enter service in March and May respectively, on Seatruck Ferries’ Dublin-Liverpool route.
In a climate of tougher trading conditions, Seatruck Ferries expects to see a further increase in unaccompanied shipments across the Irish Sea during 2009, as this transport solution offers significant cost-savings.
Alistair Eagles, Seatruck Ferries’ Deputy Managing Director, says: “Clipper Panorama’s debut on the strategic Warrenpoint-Heysham route provides much-needed additional capacity. In the current economic climate hauliers are looking for fresh opportunities to reduce door-to-door costs. By switching to unaccompanied shipments on a central corridor route, they can reduce their shipping costs and also achieve a significant reduction in road-miles.”
The new 120-unit ships are the only purpose-built freight ferries for Irish Sea service to be introduced over the past 20 years. Their service speed of 22 knots cuts the crossing time from nine hours to seven hours.
Alistair Eagles adds: “By the summer of 2009 Seatruck’s Irish Sea capacity on the two routes will have risen to 240,000 freight units annually. We remain the only Irish Sea operator totally dedicated to freight movements and we believe there is plenty of scope to expand unaccompanied shipments. It makes good economic sense, especially in the current economic environment.
“Demand for Seatruck’s dedicated freight service remains strong and we look forward to moving increased levels of traffic on both routes with the arrival of the new vessels. The speed and capacity of these new ships – together with their ability to move all types of cargo, including high tautliners, double decks, hazardous cargo and abnormal loads – will attract a great deal of interest amongst hauliers.”
The Clipper Panorama replaces the Moondance which will be redeployed on a brand new Seatruck Ferries service from Fredericia in Denmark to Moss in Norway. The new service will start on February 2, 2009.