Freight link to be revived

A FREIGHT link between Ipswich and Ostend is set to be revived following the shock collapse of a previous service between the two ports last year.Ipswich port owner Associated British Ports has announced that Dart Line, which is part of the Cobelfret Group, will be running a twice daily service to Belgium.

A FREIGHT link between Ipswich and Ostend is set to be revived following the shock collapse of a previous service between the two ports last year.

Ipswich port owner Associated British Ports has announced that Dart Line, which is part of the Cobelfret Group, will be running a twice daily service to Belgium.

Although precise dates have still to be confirmed, the route will begin in the near future and it will be releasing a final schedule shortly, ABP said.

The service will replace an existing route between Ostend and Harwich International Port, which is owned by Hutchison Ports.


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The news follows the closure of a three sailings a day Ferryways roll-on roll-off service to Ostend in June of last year which had a knock-on effect on jobs at the Suffolk port. The T & G section of Unite said at the time that it had resulted in the loss of 44 jobs at ABP in Ipswich.

Dart Line NV, a Belgium-based roll-on, roll-off freight ferry operator, currently operates daily sailings between its new hub in Ostend and Dartford and Killingholme in the UK.

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ABP will provide Dart Line with facilities at the Port of Ipswich's West Bank Terminal. The operation will be staffed by Dart Line personnel.

The closure of the previous Ipswich to Ostend freight route last year came within days of Belgium-based Ferryways being acquired by Belgium-based port ferries and logistics operator Cobelfret.

A total of 21 Ferryways staff were made redundant following the appointment of administrators, who were called in by a Belgian court to investigate the finances of Ferryways BV.

An ABP spokesman said: “This is good news for the port, and comes on the back of other new business running through Ipswich, including deals for the shipping of containers for China Shipping and handling of Canadian timber.”

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