A new ferry service serving Heysham could boost business in the Lancaster district.
That is the verdict of Kurt Buchholz, the man behind the Ellan Vannin Shipping line.
The line, part of shipping management company Sea Alliance IOM, is set to offer daily freight and passenger services between the port and the Isle of Man.
The company says it will target a smaller scale niche market, offering more affordable prices than rivals like Steam Packet and Mezeron.
The freight service will be launched in October with capacity for 40 trailers and 50 cars.
Then, from next spring, a passenger service, which will also serve Liverpool, will be launched in time for the annual Isle of Man TT race.
The Heysham passenger service will sail at the same time as the freight service which will carry passengers’ vehicles.
Capt Buchholz, director of Sea Alliance IOM, said that while he hoped the new services would boost the flagging Isle of Man tourism industry, there would also be benefits for Heysham and the Lancaster district. As well as a handful of new jobs at the port, Capt Buchholz said an increase in visitors from the island would mean more money being spent in the district.
“The freight services will open new markets in the Isle of Man, for instance for farmers and for fuel supply,” he added.
“The competition should bring prices down and small transport firms on the island, perhaps with one or two wagons, may look to open an additional base or warehouse at Heysham.
“Lower prices can be passed on to clients and could also give firms the spare money they need to grow and possibly take on more staff.”