Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Ferry Owner of P&O from Dubai Say UK Government 'Slow' over Threat to Supply Routes

30th April 2020
P&O Ferries have furloughed staff due to Covid-19. They operate on the Irish Sea, the North Channel, Dover-Calais and North Sea services of Hull-Zeebrugge/ Rotterdam. Above AFLOAT's file photo of the Belgium routes Pride of York which is currently laid-up docked in Hull at the port's King George V Dock (as above) while sister Pride of Bruges is reported to lay up soon. (AFLOAT update: ferry now laid-up in Rotterdam). Both ferries previously operated for North Sea Ferries (NSF) along with current Dublin-Liverpool pair Norbank and Norbay (see recent 'Ferry News') still retain their NSF ship name prefix of 'Nor' despite in 1996 when P&O (which already had a stake in NSF) rebranded as P&O North Sea Ferries and is now simply P&O Ferries. NSF's Norsea was renamed Pride of York and sister Norsun became Pride of Bruges.  P&O Ferries have furloughed staff due to Covid-19. They operate on the Irish Sea, the North Channel, Dover-Calais and North Sea services of Hull-Zeebrugge/ Rotterdam. Above AFLOAT's file photo of the Belgium routes Pride of York which is currently laid-up docked in Hull at the port's King George V Dock (as above) while sister Pride of Bruges is reported to lay up soon. (AFLOAT update: ferry now laid-up in Rotterdam). Both ferries previously operated for North Sea Ferries (NSF) along with current Dublin-Liverpool pair Norbank and Norbay (see recent 'Ferry News') still retain their NSF ship name prefix of 'Nor' despite in 1996 when P&O (which already had a stake in NSF) rebranded as P&O North Sea Ferries and is now simply P&O Ferries. NSF's Norsea was renamed Pride of York and sister Norsun became Pride of Bruges. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

Dubai based owner of P&O Ferries, reports BBC News, has said the UK government has been "slow" to react to the crisis facing vital supply routes.

The ferry company, which transports 15% of all goods in and out of the UK (incl Ireland), has applied for financial support to see it through the coronavirus lockdown.

The head of Dubai-based DP World told the BBC that P&O needs £257m in aid to avoid collapse and has applied to the UK government for £150m of that.

But Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said he has yet to get a response from the UK.

The DP World chairman and chief executive said: "P&O plays a vital role in the UK and thousands of jobs depend on this company. We have to be sure that when this is over we can bounce back and save these jobs.

"We have applied to the UK government to support the company to save the jobs of these people. The government has been slow. We need to safeguard these jobs - a lot of people's lives depends on this company."

As leisure passenger numbers have collapsed, moving freight only between the EU and the UK has become economically unviable. P&O has taken seven ships out of service (among them Pride of York according to the YorkshirePost).

As Afloat has previously reported P&O has also furloughed 1,400 workers, which will see the UK government paying 80% of their wages.

For further reading on the story click here. 

In addition Afloat reported on the operator's Dublin-Liverpool ropax freight ferry Norbay which was detained in the UK port over port fees which was resolved recently.

The Norbank along with sister Norbay still retain their 'Nor' prefix named as a legacy of North Sea Ferries which as alluded in the photo caption above became part of the present P&O Ferries connecting the UK with Ireland and continental Europe.  

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

Email The Author

Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2020

Wave button for Afloat new dates

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

quantum sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating