Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced financial support of up to £17million for ferry operators to keep supply chains open during the COVID-19 emergency.
The financial support package, to be joint funded by the Executive and the Department for Transport will assist ferry operators who provide critical supply routes across these islands for a two month period.
This will ensure that the supply routes which Northern Ireland relies on for food, medicines and other essential supplies continue without any interruption during this period.
Announcing today’s package Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said:
“The supply of foods, goods and medicines across these islands is vital. The Covid crisis has posed new challenges for all of our services including our ferries. I’m delighted to have secured financial support from the Department for Transport and the Executive to support our ferries through this challenging time, protecting our supply chains and by extension access to critical supplies for our communities across the North.
“This £17million investment by the Northern Ireland Executive and the Department for Transport will ensure that the supply routes which Northern Ireland relies on for food, medicines and other essential supplies continue without any interruption during this period.
“Throughout this crisis I have been working closely with ferry operators to keep our necessary goods flowing and I wish to extend my personal thanks to these companies, for their determination to maintain our critical routes during this difficult period.
“Today we have been able to secure supplies to this part of our island, the impact of which cannot be underestimated and I am pleased to play my part. There’s more work to do - and I remain committed and focused to doing all I can to secure safeguards and support for people across Northern Ireland in the days ahead.”
Notes to editors:
- The financial support for ferry operators will now be made available to Stena Line, P&O and Seatruck to maintain five key routes; Warrenpoint to Heysham; Belfast to Liverpool, Cairnryan and Heysham; and Larne to Cairnryan and Belfast to Heysham.
- This support is for a period of two months and is estimated to cost between £10.6 and £16.6 million. The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed to cover 40% of these costs.
- The scheme is designed to provide a shortfall cost subsidy to ensure routes break even and may be tapered over the life of the scheme as operators find alternative market-based solutions and adjust to circumstances. The funding range is quite broad at this stage given that it is a shortfall subsidy scheme it is not possible to be more specific at this time.
- Health advice and information on government services is available at: www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus and www.nidirect.gov.uk/coronavirus
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