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LIverpool - Isle of Man container service ends.

19th February, 2011

The container service operated by Mezeron between Douglas and Liverpool officially ends Saturday 19th February.

The two vessels used, the Kurkse and the Kalana, have come to the end of their charters and are being offered as available by their owners.

Mezeron announced two weeks earlier that there had been insufficient take up of the service to justify it continuing - hardly surprising when they had made the service exclusive to only one haulier who obviously failed to deliver.

There have been various ill thought out comments that Mezeron should have been permitted use of the Government owned linkspan in order to compete on equal terms with the Steam Packet Company.

First of all the linkspan is leased to the Packet under the harbour user agreement until 2026 so legally no other operator can use it unless the Packet was to fail. Secondly if another operator were to be permitted to use the linkspan in direct competition then we would quickly see the demise of passenger sailings as the finitely available revenue was divided between two operators. Reduction of passenger services is not in the interests of the Isle of Man or the travelling public.

The illusion that another operator, P&O for example, will provide a service to the Island, is just that, an illusion. With numerous Irish Sea services being withdrawn and merged, ship operators are currently contracting not expanding.

After the loss in revenue suffered during so called "Freight Wars" the return of the fast craft Snaefell is highly unlikely and the Island will only be served by two vessels, Ben my Chree and Mannannan.

So, who were the winners and losers in the "Freight War"?

Winners: Tesco, Shoprite.

Losers: Mezeron, Isle of Man public.

As far as the Steam Packet are concerned, they lost a lot of revenue and came out battered but victorious and more certain of their future. There are lessons to be learned, let us hope that the past events are remembered by all concerned.

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