Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan has welcomed news today that ferry services between Pembroke Port and Rosslare are set to continue for at least another 10 years, safeguarding the future of up to 60 skilled jobs locally and ensuring continuation of vital economic activity in Pembrokeshire.
Mrs Gillan, who met with Port Authority Chief Executive Alec Don on a visit to Milford Haven today, said: “This is great news for jobs and the economy of Pembrokeshire.
“The new commitment confirmed by Milford Haven Port Authority with Irish Ferries to maintain dockside and terminal services at Pembroke Dock will safeguard up to 60 skilled jobs at the port and ensure Pembroke Dock continues to make a substantial contribution to the local economy of West Wales for many years to come.
“The Pembroke Port to Rosslare service operated by Irish Ferries is a vital transport link between the UK and the Republic of Ireland and a key contributor to the economy of West Wales, carrying over 300,000 passengers and 80,000 freight units across the Irish Sea each year.
“This new 10-year commitment to continue this service safeguards the route and offers long-term stability for workers and travellers who depend on the valuable service. It is great news for Pembrokeshire and West Wales.
Irish Ferries commenced its service from Pembroke to Rosslare in 1980. It currently provides two four-hour crossings a day between the Pembrokeshire and Irish ports.
Milford Haven Port - of which Pembroke Port is a part - is the biggest port in Wales, and the third largest in the UK. During 2010, the Port handled over 65m gross tons of shipping which amounted to nearly 43m tonnes of cargo. The Port is in the heart of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the only Coastal National Park in Great Britain.
Commenting on the new deal, Chief Executive of Milford Haven Port Authority Alec Don said: “Irish Ferries are making this substantial commitment to the route during tough times for service providers on the Irish Sea. We are delighted that we will continue to have the opportunity to work with Irish Ferries and play our part in helping to grow and strengthen their business.”
Mrs Gillan was visiting Milford Haven Port Authority, where she met with Mr Don and Dragon LNG General Manager Colin Orr Burns for a boat tour of the ferry terminals, as well as power stations and refineries at Milford Haven and Pembroke Dock.
She later visited Pembroke Technium, where she met representatives of Pembrokeshire County Council and the local energy industry, including RWE, Murco and South Hook LNG.