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Clipper Sells Seatruck Ferries to Focus on Dry Cargo

Irish ro-ro firm sold
Seatruck Ferries operates between Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK (Seatruck Ferries)

Published Sep 20, 2022 2:58 PM by The Maritime Executive

Seatruck Ferries, one of the large freight carriers serving Ireland and Northern Ireland, is being sold as its parent company Denmark’s Clipper Group focuses on its dry cargo business. Luxemburg-based CLdN, a multimodal transport company that operates ro-ros in Northern Europe, will acquire the Irish operation for an undisclosed amount. 

“Given the continued robust performance by Seatruck, we concluded that this was the right time to divest the company,” said Amrit Peter Kalsi, CEO of the Clipper Group. They noted that Seatruck, which operates eight purpose-built vessels, is the leading ro-ro operator on the Irish Sea, transporting close to 20 percent of the region’s seaborne cargo volumes. 

The market between Ireland, Northern Ireland, and England has been undergoing a transition since the UK implemented Brexit and was further challenged by the travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Clipper Group however said that Seatruck was able to consolidate its position with operating profits improving in 2021. They expect that Brexit and the shortage of drivers will accelerate growth in the unaccompanied trailer sector helping to further improve earnings in 2022 and beyond for the company. 

“Seatruck Ferries is an excellent company with a great route network and a strong business model,” said Florent Maes, CEO of CLdN. “Seatruck will be a valuable addition to CLdN’s comprehensive route network and particularly adds to our presence in the UK and Irish markets.”

Clipper Group plans to devote all financial and managerial resources to further strengthening its global dry cargo business. Currently, Clipper has a fleet of 90 owned, chartered, or managed vessels.

The sale agreement completes a competitive process launched by Clipper for the divestiture of the ferry operations. The planned acquisition by CLdN is subject to regulatory approval from the Irish competition authorities. The companies expect the sale to be completed before the end of 2022 and after closing, the Seatruck operation will continue to run under the Seatruck Ferries brand with the existing management team led by Alistair Eagles.

CLdN RoRo currently operates more than 20 modern ro-ro vessels offering more than 130 sailings per week between the ports of Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, London, Killingholme, Liverpool, Dublin, Cork, Gothenburg, Esbjerg, Santander, and Porto. Other divisions of the company provide logistics including a large fleet of trailers and containers and the company also operates ro-ro ports in England, the Netherlands, and Belgium.