P&O reaffirms its commitment to port

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P&O have emphasised their commitment to the Port of Larne at a meeting with local Ulster Unionist Party representatives.

The company pointed to an investment of £15m in a new berthing facility in Cairnryan as a demonstration of their commitment to the Larne – Cairnryan
 route.

Both ports are part of the P& O Ferries Group of companies. Local construction firm McLaughlin and Harvey have won the contract to build the new Linkspan.

East Antrim MLA Roy Beggs, along with Larne Mayor Maureen Morrow and Councillor Mark McKinty, met with MD Keith Millar at the harbour office to find out what the future of the 
port is.

Mr Beggs said: “It is obvious to anyone that there is much less activity at Larne harbour now than it was the past.

“It is a fact that freight traffic has halved in recent years, but I am relieved to some extent that the port is actively seeking new business, not limited to the traditional roll on/ roll off freight traffic.

“I pointed out that P&O needed to up their game in terms of competing for passenger traffic with Stena.

“Again we had reassurances that better marketing was being rolled out with a revamped, more user friendly website being developed and more special offers.”

Cllr Maureen Morrow added: “We pointed out that the imminent restoration of the Gobbins as a tourist attraction could open up great opportunities for P&O to work in partnership with the Council to develop the day trip market.”

The UUP delegation was informed that recent negotiations on a proposal to import coal into the harbour have been unsuccessful, but than other bulk shipping options are being actively explored.