Steam Packet Company announce additional capacity for 2015 TT
The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has announced plans to expand the motorcycle capacity on its fast craft Manannan by 30%, which will provide the capacity for thousands of extra motorcycles during the 2015 TT.
A new mezzanine vehicle deck will be fabricated this autumn for Manannan and installed prior to each TT, accommodating an extra 300 motorcycles each way every day. It will also be installed for the Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling, which includes the Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix.
During the 2014 TT, the Steam Packet Company carried more than 12,100 motorcycles each way, an increase of 8% on the 2013 figure, and demand for travel to next year’s TT is already substantially higher than this time last year.
Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘The continued growth in the popularity of the TT has led to significant increases in demand for travel during the festival.
‘We have invested heavily over the years to significantly expand our vehicle capacity for the TT. Our vessels and shore staff work round-the-clock to maximise capacity for the event and this year we invested in MV Arrow and other charters. However, in recent years we have seen motorcycle numbers for the TT and Festival of Motorcycling grow by some 25%, and we know there is an increasing demand to bring motorcycles to the Island for these events.
‘This additional capacity for motorcycles is another direct benefit of the long term charter of MV Arrow as it allows us to move high vehicles away from Manannan and onto the Ben-my-Chree, while high passenger vehicle space is freed up on the Ben by moving freight to the Arrow.’
He added: ‘We have looked at a variety of ways of meeting that demand to ensure as many fans as possible can experience the unique TT atmosphere, but additional short term charters are not available or economic and we have decided to make a significant investment in a new mezzanine deck area for Manannan.
‘Manannan already carries an impressive 1,000 motorcycles per day each way and this mezzanine deck will increase her capacity to around 1,300 each way. In the short term, this will allow for more motorcycles to be carried on the most popular crossings and we anticipate an additional 1,500 to 2,000 visiting motorcycles during the 2015 TT. In the longer term, this additional capacity will make us more self-sufficient as it has proved so difficult to source suitable charter vessels for such short periods and the investment will help us meet future demand for some years to come.
‘There has been a marked increase in demand for the Festival of Motorcycling since the launch of Classic TT, and we will be able to play our part in supporting the ongoing growth of that event and the Manx Grand Prix by using the new deck to increase capacity for the Festival.’
The extra mezzanine deck will lead to a restriction on the height of vehicles Manannan can carry during the TT and Festival of Motorcycling periods, but extra high vans and similar vehicles will be accommodated on Ben-my-Chree instead.