LD Lines has confirmed the closure of its routes from Poole to Northern Spain – less than a year after they were launched.
The ferry company is to withdraw its services from the Port of Poole to Gijón, and Poole to Santander after the September 7 sailing from Santander It means the cancellation of 13 planned services – and disappointment for hundreds of passengers.
A spokesman for LD Lines said: “We originally had sailings available to the end of September but suspended bookings for the period beyond September 7 when we started reviewing the future of the routes.
“As a result, a relatively small number of customers are affected by the closure of the routes. All such passengers have been transferred to another UK - Spain operator on sailings as close as possible to their LD Lines booking".
LD Lines had been operating a once-weekly return services between Poole and Gijón, and a round trip every weekend between Poole and Santander. Both were aboard the Norman Asturias, the largest ferry to enter the port, which can take up to 500 passengers, 200 cars or 110 freight vehicles.
It is understood that the passenger service was extremely popular but the freight service had declined. Brittany Ferries started a competing service from Portsmouth in March.
LD lines was Poole's newest ferry company having introduced the Santander service in November last year, and the link with Gijón just two months later.
Their spokesman added: “We have had an excellent relationship with the Port of Poole and this is no reflection on the team there. The decision has been taken following a business review.”
Bruce Grant-Braham, chairman of Poole Tourism Partnership, pictured, said: “It’s disappointing because every ferry line that operates out of Poole spreads the name of Poole far and wide. We were hoping Poole would be exposed to the Spanish market for a longer period, but sadly, as I understand it, their loadings were not as anticipated.”
Cllr Xena Dion, cabinet portfolio holder for a prosperous and sustainable poole, Borough of Poole, said: “Any loss of business to the local area is always disappointing, but we recognise that LD Lines and the ferry industry as a whole is facing huge financial challenges at present and routes can become unviable.
“We will continue to work with the port to help ensure it has a successful future."