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P&O Ferries set to close Liverpool – Dublin route

10 months ago

P&O Ferries set to close Liverpool – Dublin route
Credit: P&O Ferries

The ferry giant has blamed the move on the unavailability of a berth in Liverpool.

Ferry giant P&O has announced plans to close one of its routes towards the end of the year. The Liverpool-Dublin route will be axed due to the unavailability of a berth in the Merseyside city for next year, the company said.

A statement said:

“Without agreement with the port owner to provide a berth in Liverpool, it is impossible for P&O Ferries to continue operating on this route. Extensive negotiations with the owner of our Liverpool site to extend our lease at the port or find an alternative site for our Liverpool-Dublin service to operate from have been unsuccessful.”

“P&O Ferries is committed to serving our Irish Sea customers and has explored all options to continue sailing on this route. Unfortunately, despite utmost efforts by P&O Ferries to find a viable solution, no suitable alternative has been offered that would enable unto maintain the current service into 2024.”

“We are saddened by our forced withdrawal from this route, which will reduce competition and the choice of sailings available to customers on a crossing where there is currently only one alternative operator.”

The route is served by two P&O ferries making 24 sailings a week and is mainly used to transport freight between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. P&O intends to redeploy the two boats on other routes.

It said:

“We are now beginning a consultation process with our employees affected by the intended closure of this service.

“We will offer support to affected colleagues to find alternative employment within our business, or where that is not possible, help to find employment elsewhere.

“We have also worked to ensure that where possible our customers affected by the intended closure of the Liverpool-Dublin route can access alternative services with other operators.

“We remain fully committed to serving customers on our Irish Sea crossing between our ports in Larne and Cairnryan, where we recently celebrated our 50th year of operations, and on our network around the UK.”

Liverpool City Region Freeport
Credit: Phil Silverman / Shutterstock.com

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union said:

“P&O Ferries said they unlawfully sacked nearly 800 seafarers to protect jobs elsewhere in their UK operation.

“This latest attack on maritime jobs and skills proves that Tory ministers were wrong to believe P&O Ferries and its chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite.

“He along with his senior management team have shown that they are not only prepared to break employment law in order to please their owners in Dubai but that they cannot be trusted to operate economically vital RoPax ferry services, blaming everyone else but themselves for their abject failures.

“The British government should scrap any shipping contracts they have with P&O and begin the process of banning them from operating in UK waters, as a matter of urgency.”

Unite national officer Bobby Morton said:

“This is an important ferry service and its loss will be a huge blow to the people of Liverpool and Dublin. Unite will now ensure that the affected workers are fully compensated for being made redundant and will also be providing assistance with finding them appropriate new employment opportunities.”

A spokesman for Peel Ports Group confirmed that the P&O Ferries service would no longer be calling into Liverpool when their existing contract expired at the end of 2023.

Find more information on the P&O Ferries website.

Find all the latest Liverpool news here.

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