The Port of Waterford has confirmed that the contract held by DFDS with Irish Rail to operate a freight train between Belview Port and Ballina, Co Mayo ceases tomorrow.

Port of Waterford Chief Executive Frank Ronan said they were sorry to see the end of the service.

"It was a nice addition to our portfolio and it was great to be able to provide a port service to stakeholders in the northwest region. 

"As the volumes involved were relatively small and likely to be replaced, we do not expect that our throughput of containers will be negatively impacted.

"However, it is a shame to see something that can take trucks off the road and reduce carbon emissions ceasing rather than growing and prospering.

"All of us (DFDS/Irish Rail/Port of Waterford) have worked to try to make the service a success but unfortunately the commercial proposition was not stacking up for the operator (DFDS). We will continue to seek alternative opportunities for rail access at Belview which is the only Port outside of Dublin that has this capability."

John Coleman, Managing Director of DFDS added: "Several years ago, DFDS, in collaboration with the Port of Waterford and Irish Rail, carried out a project to serve our clients in the northwest with a container rail link between Ballina and the Port of Waterford.

"This then connected cargo to DFDS’s twice-weekly container service to and from continental Europe.

"Late last year, DFDS reduced the rail service to one departure per week to seek to minimise losses while keeping the rail service going.

"Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of all parties involved, DFDS have now concluded that the rail service cannot continue in its current form and we must cease to operate it."