Shipping company ACL is promising that its new transatlantic service, launched in partnership with BG Freight Line and Peel Ports Group, will have transit times up to two weeks faster than any similar service travelling between Dublin/Belfast and North America, via a UK or European transhipment port.

The partnership pledges to offer importers and exporters ”quicker than ever before” access to and from the USA and Canada with direct calls at the major ports of Halifax, New York, Baltimore and Norfolk via the Port of Liverpool.

The service officially launched on Friday (10 May) in New York with ACL claiming it is a significant upgrade on current services.

BG Freight Line’s Irish Sea hub feeder service already sails between Dublin, Belfast and Liverpool, while ACL’s G4 Con-Ro ships connect the city and the largest UK market to the US and Canada.

ACL’s new schedule will see Liverpool used as the first port in and out of Europe and will not stop at any other intermediate European ports to further reduce the transit times.

ACL and BG Freight Line - part of the wider Peel Ports Group - have also agreed to coordinate their schedules to minimise connection times at the Port of Liverpool, while both will also be given berth priority.

David Huck, Peel Ports Group chief operating officer, said: “It is a really proud moment to be supporting the fastest ever Ireland to North America container service.

“This is a great example of collaboration between all three parties providing real business benefits for our customers and the marketplace.

“The fact we operate container terminals in Liverpool and Dublin, and that BG Freight Line is part of the wider Peel Ports Group, means we have much more control over how we manage this service, which in turn helps reduce those transit times and brings a real service differentiator to the market.

“Liverpool is the closest deep sea port to both Dublin and Belfast – with continental ports more regularly used often 3-4 times further away – so this is a really positive development.

“The service will also use less fuel as it will require significantly less steaming time to and from Belfast and Dublin, which brings further benefits from a sustainability perspective.”

Koert Luitwieler, BG Freight Line chief executive, added: “This is great news for importers and exporter and a significant upgrade to existing services.

“As well as having a quicker transit time, the reliability of this service will significantly improve due to the additional time we now have in the schedule.

“The fact we’re part of the wider Peel Ports Group, and have a great relationship with ACL, means this should be a real success story for all involved.”

Andrew Abbott, ACL chief executive, commented: “This new Irish service is in a totally different league to all other existing sailing options via continental and other UK ports.

“ACL has called at the Port of Liverpool for 57 consecutive years now, so we are excited to further develop what has been a long and productive development with our friends, in a place we consider our home.”

BG Freight Line provide logistics services in the UK, Ireland and Europe, including door-to-door and quay-to-quay shipping for all types of containerised cargo.

This first eastbound sailing for this new service will be the Atlantic Sun. It set sail from New York on Friday, calling at Baltimore, then connecting back into Liverpool with the JSP Anna, which will then arrive in Dublin on 26 May and Belfast on 27 May.

The JSP Anna – the first West Bound sailing of the service – will sail from Belfast on 27 May, before arriving in New York on 6 June.