P&O urged to reconsider Hull to Zeebrugge route

P&O urged to reconsider Hull to Zeebrugge route

P&O urged to reconsider Hull to Zeebrugge route

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has urged P&O Ferries to consider rethinking the decision to axe the route between Hull and Belgium.

Following a period of uncertainty and speculation, the company confirmed that it was planning to cancel the service earlier this month.

Two ferries, the Pride of York and the Pride of Bruges, will be taken out of service.

Among the reasons cited is a sharp drop in demand because of coronavirus.

A spokesperson for P&O said that the route is continually making a loss:

“We are having to take difficult action in which some jobs may be made redundant but thousands more jobs will be saved.”

The move has been labelled the “end of an era” by Maritime Historian Robb Robinson.

“The purpose of the original settlement [Hull] was to trade with the Low Countries and literally the ferry is a modern example of the continuity of that trading and movement of peoples that’s been going on for over 900 years or thereabouts,” he added.

“It really is psychologically, I think, quite serious damage in terms of that break.”

The Labour leader, has said the loss of the route would be “profoundly hurtful” locally.

It is feared that hundreds of jobs might be at risk.

Sir Keir Starmer continued:

“I’m really concerned about this and I would urge them to reconsider the position.

“It is a vital link [and] locally this would be profoundly hurtful so it’s very important that we do everything we can to support it.”

The service is expected to close for good in April.

Customers with existing bookings are advised to contact P&O directly, as many pre-booked journeys are being effected by the ongoing pandemic and by the permanent cancellation of the route.

Updates to follow as the story develops.