Ferry operator Stena Line says it is considering bringing back its Birkenhead to Dublin ferry service following P&O’s decision to pull out of the route. Tony McDonough reports
Stena ferry services between Birkenhead and Dublin could return for the first time in almost a decade.
In the mid-2010s Stena axed its daily Liverpool to Dublin service from the 12 Quays terminal in Wirral. It currently operates a twice-daily return service to Belfast using the vessels Stena Edda and Stena Embla.
Last week LBN reported that P&O Ferries is to axe its Liverpool to Dublin ferry route by the end of 2023. This has now sparked a discussion within Stena about whether it decided to reinstate what is a popular route, particulate for freight.
In a statement the Swedish company said: “Following confirmation of market changes in the Dublin-Liverpool corridor, Stena Line can confirm that it will be registering an interest in re-establishing a Dublin–Birkenhead service.
“Stena Line already operates services at both ports and believes that the addition of a new Dublin-Birkenhead service to its Irish Sea route portfolio would complement its existing Belfast to Birkenhead and Dublin to Holyhead operations.
“Stena Line understands that Dublin Port will now initiate a selection process to identify a potential new operator for the Dublin-UK corridor and Stena Line can confirm that it will be participating fully in this process.”
P&O said it had been able to reach an agreement with Port of Liverpool owner Peel Ports over a docklands berth beyond 2023.
Currently served by two vessels, Norbank and Norbay, the route currently operates 24 sailings between Liverpool and Dublin each week, carrying mainly freight and commercial traffic.
Once the service has gone at the end of the year there will be only one route linking the two ports. Seatruck’s freight-only service sees up to three sailings a day from Brocklebank Dock.
In a statement P&O Ferries said: “P&O Ferries regrets to announce that due to the unavailability of a berth in Liverpool for next year, it is our intention to close our Liverpool-Dublin route towards the end of 2023.
“The owner of the Port of Liverpool has informed us that our current berth will no longer be available after the end of 2023.
“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.
In March 2022 the company was widely condemned when it made 800 workers redundant with immediate effect. The company insisted the move was necessary to save the business which it claims was haemorrhaging cash.