Passenger figures rise 9% and freight 60% in first year of service
ON the 21st November 2011, Stena Line began services on its new Belfast- Cairnryan route by introducing two of the largest ferries ever to sail between Northern Ireland and Scotland. The £200M investment, one of Stena Line’s biggest in Europe also provided a new state-of-the-art Loch Ryan Port at Cairnryan, one of the most modern port facilities in the UK.
One year on, despite challenging economic conditions the new route has delivered a strong 9% year on year increase in passenger numbers and a 60% increase in freight volumes. The new route has now firmly established itself as an increasingly important passenger and freight link between Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Route Director for the Belfast – Cairnryan service said: “When we announced our decision to invest £200M in the new Belfast-Cairnryan route, trading conditions were and remain tough but as we have always said, we take the long term view when we make investments of this magnitude.
I’m delighted to report that after our first year of trading on the new route, despite difficult economic conditions, the new route has now firmly established itself as an increasingly important passenger and freight link between both countries. Our new port and ships have created new flows of traffic in both the passenger and freight market and while 2013 will remain challenging I’m confident that we can continue to make steady progress next year.”
Stena Line operates up to 6 daily return sailings between Belfast- Cairnryan with its Superfast vessels completing the crossing in 2hrs 15 mins. During 2012, Stena Line has also improved its reliability and punctuality, a key element for customers when deciding which ferry company to use.
Paul Grant added: “The results have shown that when do you do offer something more than the competition whether it be a Nordic Spa with onboard saunas, relaxing family cabins, free-wi fi, high-end onboard shopping or fine dining options from celebrity chef Kevin Woodford then the market does respond positively. We have tried to take ferry travel to a new level and the figures show that this ambition is being realised.”
“Now that we have a formidable mix of modern ports and ships on the Belfast-Cairnryan route, we are concentrating our efforts on trying to drive our onboard customer service levels even higher. We have invested heavily in improving key elements of our ‘customer experience’ and will continue this commitment to provide the best in class customer service throughout 2013.”
NOTE TO EDITOR: For further information please contact Kate Ferguson of Duffy Rafferty Communications on Belfast (028) 9073 0880.