Shipping firm Streamline is ending its container shipping service to customers in the Northern Isles.
The company will now rely on NorthLink ferries to deliver goods to customers in Shetland and Orkney, bringing to an end 35 years of its own service – run by charter vessel the Daroja for the last 10 years.
The move follows a two-week period where the Daroja was taken out of service to see whether the company could cope without it.
Managing director Gareth Crichton said: “It’s not that our shipping service is ceasing, it’s that the sea freight mode is changing.
“We are just going to operate trailers and work with the government-sponsored service. And hopefully that will give the opportunity to expand that service if we are no longer competing with it.”
Streamline’s charter service had sailed with containers twice a week from Aberdeen to Lerwick, arriving on Thursdays and Sundays.
However, the company had also been using NorthLink’s ro-ro ferries to carry 13.5-metre trailers which were transported by lorries on arrival. It will use this method exclusively from tomorrow, Tuesday 22nd August 2017.
Mr Crichton said the decision to end the charter deal was not motivated by high costs but, rather, by ro-ro ferries becoming a more attractive option as the price of using them has fallen over the years.
He said: “Streamline has operated without subsidy since 2014 and our business is based on finding the best shipping solution for our customers.
“The recent trial where we have used only the ro-ro has provided encouraging results and by releasing the Daroja our position moves from being both a customer and competitor of the ro-ro to being one of its biggest trade accounts.”
Streamline founder and chairman Stuart Roberts said: “We are very fortunate to have enjoyed the support of a wide and loyal customer base over the past 35 years.
“But the market conditions now are very different to those that prevailed when the container service commenced. It feels like the right time to change.
“We look forward to continuing to service our customers’ shipping needs and indeed to growing our island business generally, albeit without the ship in Streamline colours and by swapping our familiar blue boxes for wheels.”
See Friday’s Shetland Times for more.