Under pressure from a new containerised freight service, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company can expect no favours from the Manx Government. Speaking of Mezeron Line’s new Liverpool-Douglas lift-on/lift-off operation, island infrastructure minister Phil Gawne stressed there is nothing in the user agreement with the Steam Packet to prevent a container-based freight service and added there has always been a possibility that one could be started.

Speaking of the loss of a ‘significant proportion of freight revenue,’ Steam Packet chief executive Mark Woodward, commented: ‘This is about the survival of a company that has served the Isle of Man well for 180 years. We fully intend to counter this latest threat to our services. Freight competition means, however, that we will be forced to look carefully at how to ensure an acceptable level of passenger services can be provided if we are also to fight to retain and recover lost freight business.’ Mezeron Line has an established container operation serving the Isle of Man.