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Seaside petition dismissed

The company which set out to break the Steam Packet company’s monopoly on the Douglas Sea Terminal linkspan has had its case thrown out.

Seaside Shipping Ltd, part of the Barony group, lodged a petition of doleance last year after being told by the Harbours Division that it couldn’t use the linkspan to set up a rival freight shipping company.

The firm wanted to use Ro-Ro ferries to compete with the Steam Packet and launched a legal challenge against the Department of Transport.

In short, Seaside argued the DoT was acting beyond its powers when it refused to open the linkspan, and the user agreement broke European law by restricting the free movement of goods.

But Deemster Doyle heard arguments from the government and the Steam Packet that the agreement was made in 1995, and so the challenge was far too late.

He agreed, saying Seaside Shipping had known about the agreement for 13 years but had only decided to challenge it last September.

He said it would be wrong in law, justice and fairness to allow the case to go ahead, but added the court made no ruling about whether the agreement did restrict trade under European legislation.

Deemster Doyle dismissed the petition.

(Picture: Part of one of the linkspans in Douglas Harbour).

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