Seatruck Boat

The Company

Seatruck Ferries Ltd is the only dedicated ‘freight-only’ ferry operator on the Irish Sea. Established in 1996 with a single vessel they are now a fleet of 12 modern roll-on roll-off freight ferries operating across the Irish Sea, ranging in capacity from 65-130 unaccompanied trailers and delivering approximately 350,000 freight units per annum.

Having demonstrated significant growth in the last decade they have cemented their name as one of the primary players in the Irish Sea having invested €400m on new vessels during this period. The business currently has seven ships operating in own service with another five operating in the external charter market. Backed by the Danish owned Clipper Group A/S they have enjoyed a return to solid growth of their core unaccompanied freight business. Seatruck now operate 72 departures per week and experienced traffic growth at three times the market level in 2016.

The Brief

Having previously retained Sherrington Associates in 2015 to recruit an Operations General Manager, a key role in the senior management team leading all port operations across four dispersed ferry terminals on both sides of the Irish Sea, in 2017 Seatruck engaged Sherrington once more this time to source a Commercial General Manager.

The role would lead all commercial activity for the business, managing a team based in locations in both Belfast and Heysham and would be strategically responsible for business development, customer service and marketing for Seatruck. Given the geography of Seatruck's customer base, the role would require a candidate with exceptional knowledge of the road haulage market in Northern Ireland. The search was extremely time critical as the incumbent was due to leave the business within three months, therefore a careful project plan was developed to ensure a timely appointment was made.

The Search

Sherrington Associates carried out a highly targeted and research-based headhunting exercise to identify and attract candidates from both the immediate competition in the Irish Sea ferries sector as well as adjacent markets. Given Seatruck's unique organisational culture it was imperative the successful candidate could assimilate into a high-growth entrepreneurial SME ferries business and was not too institutionalised from working in a large corporate structure. Sherrington employed a robust selection methodology involving both biographical and competency based interviews to ensure candidates demonstrated the right soft-skills and character traits. Interviews were carried out by Sherrington in Belfast, close to the client's main offices.

The Result

After an exhaustive search and selection campaign, Sherrington presented a final shortlist of four candidates to the client, all of whom had the right experience to do the job. After organising final interviews between the shortlist and Seatruck's Chief Executive, an appointment was made to Seamus Leheny, Business Development & Policy Manager of the Freight Transport Association in Northern Ireland. Since recruiting this position, Sherrington have been retained by Seatruck to recruit other senior managers including a General Manager Operations and a Chief Safety Officer.

Alistair Eagles CEO of Seatruck Ferries said of this assignment...

We are delighted to welcome Seamus to the business. His experience in the Northern Ireland freight market is exactly what we wanted for our customers. Sherrington delivered a great result with this appointment and I'm very pleased with the way they executed the search.

Alistair Eagles - Chief Executive Officer, Seatruck Ferries
Seamus Leheny

Seamus Leheny - New Commercial General Manager of Seatruck Ferries

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