P&O has dubbed Larne the Province’s ‘gateway of choice’ after handling the highest volume of freight in five years on its Larne-Cairnryan service in 2016.
The ferry and logistics company handled 206,700 freight units on the route during the last 12 months, representing a 7.5 per cent increase on the previous year’s 192,200 units.
In addition, 2016 represented the first ever year in which none of the 4,774 sailings scheduled from the Port of Larne was cancelled, with 97 per cent of departures within ten minutes of their published time.
P&O operates seven daily sailings between Larne and Cairnryan with a crossing time of only two hours.
P&O Ferries’ Director for the Irish Sea Neal Mernock commented: “This highly encouraging performance shows that the economy of Northern Ireland is continuing to grow, notwithstanding the uncertainty heralded by the Brexit vote in June. We invested £500,000 last year in our two purpose built ferries on the route, the European Highlander and European Causeway, to upgrade facilities and passenger areas on the ships. This has already paid a dividend in terms of increasing customer satisfaction with our services.
“The frequency of sailings, short crossings, excellent reliability and the fact that the port is now only 30 minutes from Belfast by road via the newly built A8 are increasingly making Larne the gateway of choice for anyone exporting to or from Northern Ireland. We have seen particularly strong volumes of agricultural and dairy produce, household and stores goods, building materials and machinery.”