The company said the loss-making route will be brought to an end with immediate effect, following a “comprehensive review of its options”.
However it added that full Larne to Cairnryan route services will continue to operate “throughout 2016 and into the future”.
In a statement on Wednesday morning, PO Ferries said there will be no redundancies with the closure of the Larne to Troon service, with all permanent staff being found alternative roles within the company.
The company added: “PO Ferries has proudly operated this additional seasonal route since 2003, but the stark reality is that the company is continuing to make significant losses, and sadly the income from ticket sales is not sufficient to cover the annual vessel and port operating costs.
“Given the other negative developments in the borough, with factory closures looming in Ballymena, this is especially worrying.”
“In a final attempt to make the route economic the company reduced the service in the off-peak months last year, whilst maintaining the full service in the peak months of July and August. Whilst this measure did significantly reduce the operating costs, the route remained loss-making.
“Since the last sailing at the end of September, PO Ferries has continued to negotiate with a number of suppliers and other organisations, including the search for a lower cost chartered fast-craft to be able to continue, but we have been unable to develop a solution for the company.”
The news has been described as a “blow” to Larne.
East Antrim DUP MLA Alastair Ross said: “It is of course regrettable that PO will be discontinuing the Larne-Troon service but for some time now, despite the efforts of the company, the route has not been economically viable.
“With major investment in upgrading the A8 Belfast-Larne road completed recently tourist and freight routes into Larne are becoming more attractive again, and I would hope that the port can grow its business in the years ahead.”
Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan said: “It will understandably create fears for the employees of the firm and their families and while management have assured me that there will be no redundancies, there is still a great deal of anxiety.”
Ulster Unionist MLA for East Antrim Roy Beggs said: “There has been concern in Larne for the future of the Troon service since the decision last summer not to renew the charter of the Express ship.
“It had been hoped that an alternative vessel was being sourced, therefore it is very disappointing to learn that yet another ferry route from the Port of Larne has now been axed.”
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Articles may come from parliamentary reports, various public news feeds and Google News Search. Content is republished here for context. Copyright is respected and remains with the original author at all times. Original Article:http://www.u.tv/News/2016/01/13/PO-service-closure-worrying-for-Larne-52073