A new daily freight service between the Isle of Man and Liverpool starts on Monday.
Shipping firm Mezeron is operating two vessels on the route, to meet increased demand for a sea container service.
Marian Kenny reports (text, below, from attached audio file):
Until now Mezeron has used Glasson Dock south of Lancaster as its UK port.
The new service will be between Douglas and Liverpool and that, according to Mezeron boss Jorg Vanselow, is attracting customers. He cites key factors as better freight container handling facilities, and reduced vehicle road miles in the UK.
A large new crane is in place at Douglas harbour to offload the containers .
The service represents direct competition for the Steam Packet Company.
Cost comparisons with the trailer-based freight service offered by the Packet are difficult.
The firm hasn't yet commented on the Mezeron service, but the Packet has always said its profits from freight help subsidise passenger fares, so will be watching uptake of the new daily container service closely.