P&O Ferries discontinues ferry service from Liverpool to Dublin
The ferry operator P&O Ferries has officially confirmed that it will discontinue its ferry service from Liverpool to Dublin at the end of this year. This decision comes after months of speculation about the future of this operation on the route between the UK and Ireland.
Reason for closure: no extension of terminal lease agreement
The ferry company was unable to secure a new lease for its terminal at Gladstone Dock in Liverpool beyond the end of the year. Negotiations between the owner of the Port of Liverpool, Peel Ports, and P&O Ferries to extend the current lease appear to have broken down after Peel Ports received an alternative proposal from a customer willing to commit to the site for a longer term than P&O Ferries.
Statement from P&O Ferries
A statement from P&O Ferries said, “We regret our forced withdrawal from this route, which will reduce competition and the choice of crossings available to customers on a route where only one other operator currently operates. The route, which is served by two P&O ferries and makes a total of 24 crossings per week, is used primarily to transport cargo between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.”
The closure of the Liverpool to Dublin route follows a challenging few years for P&O’s only remaining ferry service to Ireland. Demand on this route has changed following the UK’s exit from the EU’s single market. P&O Ferries has also faced stiff competition in recent years from Seatruck Ferries, which provides a freight-only service on the route.
Alternative ferry routes
After the cancellation of the ferry connection from Liverpool to Dublin or from Dublin to Liverpool, you can use the following ferry connections as an alternative:
- Ferry Cairnryan – Belfast
- Ferry Cairnryan – Larne
- Ferry Fishguard – Rosslare
- Ferry Holyhead – Dublin
- Ferry Liverpool Birkenhead – Belfast
- Ferry Pembroke – Rosslare
Outlook for the future
It remains to be seen how Seatruck Ferries will react to P&O’s closure announcement. As part of the CLdN Group, the Heysham-based company could secure greater or additional capacity for its Liverpool route if required.
The Swedish ferry company Stena Line had previously also shown interest in the route from Liverpool to Dublin. Stena Line is the only ferry company besides Seatruck to have access to a ro-ro ferry terminal in the Merseyside region and already has a presence in Dublin.
P&O Ferries has confirmed that its other Irish Sea ferry from Larne to Cairnryan will be unaffected by the closure of the Liverpool to Dublin route. The Cairnryan route recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and is now the only remnant of what was once an extensive network of P&O routes connecting the island of Ireland with Britain and France.
We’ll keep you posted on further developments regarding this route! What is your opinion on this? Have you used this route before or do you plan to travel on this ferry route in the future? Write it in the comments.