The port of Holyhead is located on the Isle of Anglesey, at the northern tip of Wales. Its location is ideal for container transit to Ireland, with crossings of the Irish sea only taking two hours. With the port being so close to the Irish mainland, Holyhead is the gateway for imports and exports to and from Ireland. In 2010 the port of Holyhead handled 2.6 million tonnes of cargo traffic.
Owned by the ferry company Stenaline, Holyhead is a very popular destination for ferry passengers to and from Ireland, but the proximity of the port to Dublin bay, makes it most popular for freight crossings too. With deep-water berths and Ro-Ro berths to accommodate all types and sizes of ships and cargo, Holyhead has all of the facilities for container transportation and shipping.
Transportation once containers are docked is via the A55 arterial road, which leads straight out of the port. The A55 takes all transported cargo from the Isle of Anglesey and into mainland Wales. On departure from the Isle, there are a myriad of A class roads in all directions. Continuing on the A55 containers in transit will head further north along the coast, passing through Colwyn Bay (44 miles). Leaving the A55 on departure from the Isle, cargo can join the A5 and head straight into the heart of Wales. Passing through Snowdonia National Park, containers in transit on this route will ultimately be destined for Shrewsbury (117 miles). Alternatively a route can be sought south along the Welsh coast on the A487, passing through Aberystwyth (106 miles). Holyhead train station, located in the port itself, has direct links with London and Cardiff.
There have been passenger sailings from Holyhead to Ireland for more than 4,000 years, but Holyhead’s maritime importance was really at its height in the 19th century. This was when the famous breakwater was built, which created a safe harbour for vessels caught in stormy waters on their journeys to Liverpool, and the industrial ports of Lancashire. In the early part of the 19th century, Holyhead was also the port used by Royal mail to dispatch to Dublin on the mail coach.
Although owned by Stenaline, and predominantly a ferry terminal, a significan amount of cargo is, and will continue to be handled at the port of Holyhead.