If you had any plans to ride to the Isle of Man for the TT festival this year, your only option will be the long-running Steam Packet ferry company. The Ellan Vannin Line, a competitor to the Isle of Man Steam Packet’s lucrative monopoly on ferry routes to and from the Island, has announced that it won’t be able to operate a service for this year’s TT.
This German-owned shipping company formally applied for permission to use port facilities in Douglas last October but has yet to receive a reply from the Manx government. Ellan Vannin chief executive Kurt Buchholz says that the extent of this delay means there now won’t be time to get his proposed ferry operations up and running for TT 2014.
Ellan Vannin intended to evade the Steam Packet’s exclusive user agreement with the Isle of Man authorities — which applies only to the pair of stern-loading link spans in Douglas harbour — by employing a side-loading vessel capable of charging and discharging cars, vans and motorcycles directly onto an adjacent quayside.