A ferry service between the port of Heysham and Dublin is to be scrapped.
Shipping line DFDS has announced that the route is being axed at the end of January along with the company’s two ships operating between Dublin and Birkenhead.
The company blamed a “sharp” drop in demand since 2008 and said the routes were making “substantial losses”.
Niels Smedegaard, chief executive of DFDS, said: “It is with deep regret that we close these routes. Despite an impressive effort from employees and a very comprehensive analysis of the market and evaluation of turnaround scenarios we have not succeeded in developing viable solutions for the routes.”
Unions said about 200 jobs would be affected, including 140 seafarers. The company said 50 posts would go at its base in Dublin and also said the closures would mean “the termination of several contracts with external suppliers”.
The shipping line blamed overcapacity on the Irish Sea for its decision. The Irish economy has also been been hard hit since 2008 by the global financial crisis.
DFDS had been operating six days per week between Heysham and Dublin since it took over the routes with the acquisition of Norfolkline in December 2009.