DFDS has announced the closure of its Zeebrugge-Rosyth freight route following a fire in the engine room of its ro-ro vessel Finlandia Seaways, which connects Belgium with the Scottish port.
The ship was towed to DFDS' terminal in Immingham, where the cargo on board has been discharged and where the company performed an inspection of the vessel.
"The inspection revealed substantial damage to the ship's engine room, and we estimate that it will be out of service for several months for repairs. Furthermore, our search for a replacement vessel was fruitless and revealed that there are no suitable ships available," said Kell Robdrup, senior vice president of DFDS' routes connecting to the southern part of the North Sea.
According to DFDS, the financial performance of the route has struggled to meet expectations and volumes are not foreseen to pick up on the route, nor will an increase in volumes be large enough to sustain an efficient route set-up.
With the vessel out of service for several months, the market, the customers and the financial situation will be negatively affected, says Robdrup, adding that the situation "makes a turnaround and a reopening unrealistic."
He said: "We have lost all hope of being able to turn around the route's loss-making situation. Therefore, we have no alternative but to close the route as we undoubtedly will lose clients who will be forced to seek alternative solutions for their transport."
The annual revenue of the route was approximately DKK100 million (USD16.4 million) in 2017.
Following the closure of the Rosyth-Zeebrugge route, DFDS connects the UK with mainland Europe via ten routes. DFDS has not made any decisions about the deployment of Finlandia Seaways when the vessel has been repaired.