Transatlantic service to call Belfast
A Dallas-based company plans to begin offering a new transatlantic service that includes a port call in Belfast, Northern Ireland, at the end of December.
Peter Bouwhuis, president of Trans Atlantic Liner Services (TALS), said the service will use space chartered on vessels operated by BBC Chartering, and plans to offer monthly service in a Belfast, Montreal, Baltimore, Antwerp rotation. He said the company may switch to the less congested port of Ostend in Belgium, and if the service is a success, the plan is to have fortnightly sailings.
The service has had a long gestation. It had planned to charter ships for the service last year, 'but the economy threw in a lot of dirt in the planning. We are confident with this new setup we will be successful,' Bouwhuis said.
He believes there is 'huge potential for freight coming out of the whole of Ireland,' noting there is a great deal of cross-border traffic between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. TALS will seek breakbulk and project cargo and containerized cargo moving in shippers-owned containers. The company plans to charter 5,000 to 8,000 cubic meters on the BBC Ships, which typically have total capacities of 20,000 to 25,000 cubic meters.
Bouwhuis said the company believes the service will be attractive to manufacturers of products such as windmill components, quarry machinery and aerospace equipment. The company is negotiating contracts with some shippers that would provide it with based cargo.
The BBC ships do not have ramps, but Bouwhuis said the company will be able to handle roll-on/roll-off equipment by using a 'cargo bridge' that equipment can drive onto that will be lifted into the holds of the tweendeckers.