The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has welcomed the opening of the new Bay Gateway road linking Heysham with the M6, and plans for a £10 million investment in the port.


The £140 million new road opened on 31st October, providing a direct three-mile link between the Lancashire port and the UK motorway network. The Bay Gateway will improve access, cutting journey times to and from Heysham by avoiding any congestion in Lancaster.


Details of a £10 million investment in Heysham port by owner Peel Ports have also been confirmed. While the port will still have the same vessel length restrictions, work will include the old ‘Berth 2’ linkspan being replaced with a new structure, primarily for use by shipping company Seatruck Ferries, and the creation of a new entrance for the freight check-in area.


The improvements, scheduled to commence this month, will also see changes to the port’s IT and terminal operating systems among other measures.


Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘The opening of the Bay Gateway is a very welcome development, reducing the travelling time between Heysham and the motorway network. In the first few days the benefits of the direct link have been clear to see.


‘Heysham is integral to the Isle of Man’s sea services, providing a well-positioned port for passenger and freight traffic, so we are pleased to see such a substantial investment in improving traffic access.


‘We also welcome the investment in the port itself by owner Peel Ports. While the improvements will not directly affect operations to and from the Isle of Man, being chiefly focused on replacing an old linkspan with a new version to be used by Seatruck Ferries, it is a positive sign. We hope the improvements will continue, with access to the port being fully maintained with regular dredging of the approach channel and ongoing enhancements to the operation of Heysham port.’