Select Committee on Welsh Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses(Questions 296-299)




  296. Welcome to this unusual venue for the Select Committee and our inquiry into transport in Wales. We thought we would sample some of the transport in Wales which is why we have come here and dragged you here as witnesses, but we are very grateful to you and hope to find some information to add to our own knowledge of transport in Wales. Perhaps you would introduce yourselves.

  (Captain Parry) I am the ship operations and port manager for Stena Line at the port of Holyhead. Stena Line are an international transport and travel company and one of the world's largest ferry operators, operating 16 routes throughout Europe in total. Stena Line Ports Limited is a subsidiary of Stena Line and we own and operate three Irish sea ports, Stranraer, Holyhead and Fishguard.
  (Mr Mottram) I am corporate planning manager with Irish Ferries. Irish Ferries would be the largest Irish ferry company operating. We operate into Dublin-Holyhead and Rosslare-Pembroke.
  (Mr Fenwick) I am port manager for Irish Ferries in Holyhead. We commenced our services from the port of Holyhead in 1982, and I have been there ever since.
  (Mr Walker) I am UK operations manager for P&O Irish Sea. We have 13 ships operating backwards and forwards across the Irish Sea and have recently set up in the port of Mostyn in North Wales.
  (Mr Stephens) I am sales manager for P&O Irish Sea responsible for England and Wales development.

  Chairman: Thank you. There will be topics that will be common to you all so do not feel you have to answer the same question or give us the same answer. If one of you have given an answer, that is fine. If, however, you have something else to add, feel free to jump in on the question and also if you have anything particular to your particular firm.

Mrs Williams

  297. How significant do you think Wales' ferry links are to the economies of Wales and Ireland and the United Kingdom as a whole? I am thinking specifically in both labour and financial terms, and how much do your various operations contribute, do you feel, to the development of the local economy?
  (Captain Parry) I will certainly answer the labour questions. Directly I am speaking for Holyhead port and not the ships—employs in the region of 180 staff members directly. Added to that obviously we have the various support units—the garages, the various bus companies, etc, so I guess in total in the port 250, I would say, are directly involved. I am not so sure about the figures outside in the town but I know they had a recent survey and I think they were talking about in the region of 90 directly in the town centre, which is obviously very important throughout the whole of Anglesey and North Wales as far as the tourism aspect of our ferry operations are concerned.
  (Mr Mottram) It would be extremely significant from our point of view in that Ireland is on the periphery of Europe and the ferries are the only link between Ireland and Wales; there is no physical fixed link. Approximately 95 per cent of the trade crosses the Irish Sea by sea, of which 46 per cent goes on the short sea between Dublin and Holyhead and into Rosslare Pembroke and Fishguard. In terms of labour, Irish Ferries directly employs around 40 people in Holyhead and another 25 locals are employed on the ships, and there would be ten people who would be employed not directly but who would be used in terms of shuttle buses and refreshment facilities in Holyhead. In Pembroke there are 14 direct employees, and we help support through port dues and investment the port of Milford Haven which employs 38 people, and again there would be a number of people from the area employed on the ships. In terms of the spin-off benefits to the local areas, that is very hard to quantify. We know anecdotally that the money goes into supermarkets, garages, vehicle maintenance, B&Bs and hotels. Day trippers used to be a big spin-off as well but that has been reduced through the abolition of duty free. I suppose the impact would be tens of millions of pounds probably. We ourselves carry 1.6 million passengers and with the other ferry companies, if you add even a couple of pounds per head on to that, it is going to be in the region of millions of pounds into the local area.

Mr Ruane

  298. That is 1.6 million passengers?
  (Mr Mottram) Yes, on our two routes from Rosslare to Pembroke and from Dublin to Holyhead.
  (Mr Walker) Staff, stevedores, hauliers, direct employees, if you like, amount to 70 people and already we are starting to see, although we have not been in Mostyn that long, a shift of some customers. One particular haulier has just established his base at the port of Mostyn and he employs twelve direct and we expect more to follow, so it is a growth area for us in terms of employment, and the spin-off is much the same as these other gentlemen have stated—it is local employment in terms of fitters, suppliers and the local supermarket.

Mrs Williams

  299. When you say "local", you mean North Wales?
  (Mr Walker) Yes. .

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