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#Ports&Shipping - Port 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 (today, 29 May).

As RTE News reports, the 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.

For more on the storey click here. 

Published in Ports & Shipping

#Rosslare2040 - Rail operated Rosslare Europort has featured prominently in the their response to the Governments ‘National Planning Framework’ consultation.

According to MultiModal, the National Planning Framework is the plan that sets out what the transport needs for the country will be in 2040.

A desire to deepen the port to accommodate modern larger high-capacity vessels and develop the port into a multimodal facility which would include the construction of a rail-freight interface is expressed.

Currently the port mostly handles RoRo freight. The port is the second largest seaport in Ireland for unitised road freight and is crucial for the economy and employment in the regional hinterland and for the national economy. The response states the need to improve connectivity to the Port, noting that this direct link to mainland Europe will be more vital post Brexit.

Rosslare Europort has road connections to Dublin, Waterford, Cork and Limerick and intermodal rail freight would benefit from links to Dublin and the West via Waterford.

Irish Rail intermodal trains will be increased in length by around a third shortly following completion of trails to operate longer trains. Presently regular intermodal train operate between Dublin Port, Ballina and Waterford Port.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#Rail&Sail – Irish Rail have amendment the Rosslare Europort-Dublin railway service so to provide 'greater connectivity' for ferry passengers, albeit the new schedule was only introduced for this year of The Gathering, writes Jehan Ashmore. 

The National Transport Authority approved the amended rail timetable which started this month and remains valid until 2 September.

The changes are to improve certain connection times between ferries arriving in the Wexford port and passengers making onward rail journeys to the capital and beyond.

Special Gathering travel tickets have been introduced by Irish Rail and Bus Éireann to give ticket holders unlimited travel across both companies' extensive networks for either three days or seven days.

Below are the changes made to the Rosslare Europort-Dublin (Connolly Station) service schedule.

- The 17:55 Rosslare Europort to Connolly will be deferred until 19:15 Monday to Saturday.

- The 17:36 Connolly to Wexford service will depart at usual time but there will be an extended journey time between Enniscorthy and Wexford with an arrival time of 20:25 into Wexford Monday to Friday.

- On Sundays the 17.40 Rosslare Europort to Connolly will be deferred to 19:00.

Rosslare Europort is unique in that the harbour is operated by the state owned transport company and from where three ferry operators run routes to Wales and France, including the seasonal-only Roscoff route which resumed recently.

 

Published in Ferry

#SeaRailFreight- A new container rail-freight service between Waterford Port and Ballina began operating this week, to link in with DFDS Logistics sailing schedules to and from Europe.

The container trains are running to a twice weekly service in each direction linking the Belview Port terminal downriver of Waterford City and the northern Co. Mayo town.

According to Irish Rail (Iarnród Éireann), the new service will benefit customers in the west and north-west of Ireland in particular, providing them with a cost effective alternative when compared with a road based shipping. Coupled with this, the customer also reduces their carbon footprint.

The trains are scheduled to meet DFDS lo-lo vessels sailing from Belview Port to Rotterdam, which allows for onward delivery into Europe. Customers can now load in the west of Ireland on Tuesday morning and deliver in The Netherlands on Thursday pm/Friday am.

Rotterdam also provides access to DFDS sailings to Norway, and rail connections to Italy, allowing for a rail-sea-rail connection from Ballina to Milan.

DFDS will utilise a significant amount of available rail-wagons, but have left scope to develop the service further by introducing new customers, both internal Irish traffic and import / export traffic.

This is an important addition to the DFDS services in Ireland, and as a customer for Irish Rail's freight division. The new service is covering a longer distance, guaranteed volumes and direct port access.

The introduction of the service will see freight volumes increase from 91m tonne kilometres in 2012 to 105 m tonne kilometres approximately in 2013.

 

Published in Ports & Shipping
Visitors to Cork Harbour Open Day should note that asides motoring or taking the train to Cobh, there's also the option of going downriver by boat to view the maiden cruiseship call of Queen Elizabeth, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Irish Rail will operate special services between Cork and Cobh for the event and also on services between Cork to Midelton route where the town's Food & Drink Festival also takes place this Saturday. For festival information visit www.midletonfoodfestival.ie/and for rail-times click HERE.

There's also the option of departing Cork-city centre to Cobh by taking an excursion on the River Lee on the passenger-tender Spirit of the Isles. Sailings depart the city's Penrose Quay, which is on the same side to the railway (Kent) station.

Sailings will operate this Saturday and Sunday and for the remaining weekends throughout September. The boat's Saturday schedule departs the city at 11am and arrives at Cobh's Kennedy Quay at 12.15pm.

In addition there is a Lower harbour tour off Cobh on Saturdays and Sundays, departing Kennedy Pier, Cobh - 12.30pm and returning to Kennedy Pier at 1.45pm. The boat then departs Cobh at 2pm to return to Cork with an arrival time of 3.15pm. For both this Saturday and Sunday sailing schedules, fares and further information go to www.corkharbourcruises.com

In the late 1980's the Spirit of the Isles then named Ingot operated excursions for several seasons from Dun Laoghaire's East Pier to Dalkey Sound and Killiney Bay.

Returning to the third annual Cork Harbour Open Day there will also be a free shuttle-service running in the lower harbour calling at Ringaskiddy, Monkstown, Cobh, Aghada and Crosshaven. The fast-ferry RIB operator 'Whale of a Time' is providing the free service which is sponsored by the Port of Cork Company and National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI). For further information visit http://www.whaleofatime.net/Home.html 

Published in Cork Harbour
Ambitious plans to introduce load-on load-off (Lo-Lo) facilities at Rosslare Europort have been announced, according to a report in yesterday's Wexford People.
John Lynch, manager of the port talked about the expansion of the ports current role which is exclusively for roll-on roll-off (Ro-Ro) ferry business into Lo-Lo traffic and the eventual development of a rail-freight terminal.

However, to facilitate all these developments, Mr Lynch said they will need the reclamation of up to 20 hectares of additional land and the deepening of part, or all, of the port from the current 7.2m to 9m and perhaps, eventually, 11m.

Mr Lynch said these developments would be facilitated, and accelerated, by of a port centric logistics zone (a grouping of activities dealing with freight transportation) on lands beside the south-eastern port.

Mr Breen said he recognises the 'fundamental and strategic importance of Rosslare Europort to the economic development of the county'.

The county manager said he will recommend that 'appropriate policies, objectives and development management standards are included in the draft plan to facilitate the development of the port', subject to the appropriate technical and environmental assessments.

As part of his submission, Mr Lynch also requested that the '1902 Lighthouse' at the port, which is recognised on the National Inventory of Architectural Services, not be included on the Record of Protected Structures.

Mr Breen said he would give further consideration as to whether it would be appropriate to de-list the lighthouse in advance of the draft plan.

Next month the port will host the annual Irish Ports Conference in the Ferrycarrig Hotel, Wexford on Friday 30 September.

Published in Ports & Shipping
The opening this week of a new rail-spur in Dublin Port by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar T.D.,brings a boost to rail freight competitiveness, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Dublin Port Company invested €1.5m for the 1.6km long rail-spur expansion which links freight-trains directly alongside ships berthed at Ocean Pier. The new facility at the Common User Terminal eliminates the need for loading and unloading trucks at Alexandra Basin East (click MAP)

The minister welcomed "the important investment by Dublin Port Company in its rail network. It will further enhance the attractiveness of the port as a destination for rail-based freight. The project represents a commitment on the part of Dublin Port Company and Iarnród Éireann to customers who want to move goods by rail".

The project took six months to complete and the public private partnership involved Dublin Port Company, Iarnród Éireann and the first customer of the new facility, International Warehousing and Transport (IWT).

IWT is a privately owned Irish logistics company, which already operates freight-trains to Ballina that are expected to increase from 4 to 5 trains per week in each direction as a result of this investment. The rail-operator believes that the service will save up to 5.5million road kilometres annually and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 2,750 tonnes.

The Irish Exporters Association also welcomed the development of the IWT freight operation at the new facility, where increased frequency in services will enhance Ireland's contribution to the European Union's modal shift aspirations from road to rail.

The Common User Terminal is also open to other shipping companies. Existing clients using the lo-lo container terminal operated by Burke Shipping Group through its subsidiary Portroe Stevedores are C2C Lines, APL, Coastal Containers, Evergreen, Gracechurch and OOCL . The terminal also has a ro-ro berth facility where CLdN /Cobelfret operate from on routes to Belgium and The Netherlands. 

In addition to the Dublin-Ballina service the port exports 400,000 tonnes of lead and zinc concentrate from the freight customers Boliden/Tara Mines with 15 trains per week. The facility at Alexandra Basin Jetty is regularly served by vessels from Arklow Shipping Ltd, where the 2011 newbuild Arklow Field (2,998 tonnes) is currently berthed.

Published in Dublin Port
In The Irish Times on Thursday, Tim Sweetman from Islandbridge writes that steam trains could add a touch of old-fashioned glamour to the Tall Ships Races in Waterford this summer.
"Perhaps Irish Rail and the Railway Preservation Society might come together to provide more atmosphere," he suggests. "There's a perfectly good line available from Waterford to Rosslare that is looking for some business."
What else could be done to make the most of the Tall Ships visit? Make your own suggestions in the comments below!

In The Irish Times on Thursday, Tim Sweetman from Islandbridge writes that steam trains could add a touch of old-fashioned glamour to the Tall Ships Races in Waterford this summer.

"Perhaps Irish Rail and the Railway Preservation Society might come together to provide more atmosphere," he suggests. "There's a perfectly good line available from Waterford to Rosslare that is looking for some business."

What else could be done to make the most of the Tall Ships visit? Make your own suggestions in the comments below!

Published in Tall Ships
Cobh played host to yet another historic maritime spectacle when two giant cruiseships met off the town's deepwater quay at the same time this afternoon, writes Jehan Ashmore.

In an unprecedented scheduling of cruiseships to the Port of Cork (Cobh), the inbound Independence of the Seas (154,407 tonnes) the largest cruiseship to call to any Irish port, passed the 122,000 tonnes Celebrity Eclipse which was preparing to depart from the town's cruise terminal.

Some 15 minutes later Celebrity Eclipse pulled away from the berth. During that timeframe the Independence of the Seas had completely turned around in the opposite direction to face Cobh after maneuvering in the swinging basin between Cobh and the Naval Base on Haulbowline Island.

The 4,175-passenger Independence of the Seas is the third of the 'Freedom' class vessels. She has a length of 339m and is a mere 11m shorter in distance to that of the 350m berth at Cobh. The 38m wide cruiseship has a draft of 8.7m and the depth of water at the town's quayside is 9.1m.

The 15-deck vessel was built by Aker Finnyards in Turku, Finland in 2008 for Royal Caribbean International (RCI). Amenities on the Freedom class consist of the an innovative surf park, canitilevered whirlpools, ice-skating rink, full-size boxing ring and a H2O Zone waterpark.

As for the 3,179-passenger Celebrity Eclipse, she is the second of five 'Solstice' class sisters and measures 317m (length) 48m (beam) and draws 8.6m. On the top deck there is the fresh green grass located at Lawn Club. She was built by the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany and entered service last year for her owners Celebrity Cruises.

Independence of the Seas departed yesterday afternoon on an overnight passage from Southampton where the vessel is based in the summer and for the winter she is based out of Florida. The Celebrity Eclipse departed the UK south coast port from Cobh where the larger cruiseship is also to make overnight port of call.

In total 10,000 passengers and crew will of visited the Cork Harbour region alone over the May Bank holiday. To meet the surge in demand for the shore-based excusions a fleet of buses awaited and additional trains were also laid-on by Irish Rail. The railway station is located next-door to the Cobh Heritage Centre which retraces the town's strong trans-Atlantic liner era.

Published in Cruise Liners

The Dublin Port Company has approved for the railway extension of the existing track tramway on Alexandra Road in order to serve one of the port's Lo-Lo container terminals, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The new extension is to directly connect rail-freight trains to the Common User Container Terminal at Alexandra Quay East. The extension will make a right turn off the Alexandra Road immediately after the Tara Mines zinc unloading facility and then along the quayside to the terminal, close to Ocean Pier.

Currently there are three weekly rail-freight trains running between Ballina, Co. Mayo and Dublin port, where the containers are required to be loaded and unloaded on Alexandra Road. From this location they are transferred by road to the terminal. When the new rail-tramway is completed in April, this will reduce costs by eliminating the transfer.

The rail-freight service to Dublin Port started operations in August 2009 and is run as a public private partnership between International Warehousing & Transport (IWT), Iarnrod Eireann and Dublin Port. IWT is the only train operator to the port, but it is believed that the Dublin Port Company has received a number of enquiries from other port users who are interested in using the new facility.

IWT are also agents for Tschudi Shipping and Tschudi Logistics on services to the Belgium, The Netherlands, Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea which use the Common User Container Terminal. The terminal is operated by the Burke Shipping Group through its subsidiary Portroe Stevedores. Other clients using the terminal are Cobelfret, C2C Lines, APL, Coastal Containers, Evergreen, Gracechurch and OOCL.

In addition to the terminal, the port operates two other container facilities at the Dublin Ferryport Terminal (DFT) and the Marine Terminals Ltd (MTL). According to figures released yesterday, Dublin Port recorded growth in Lo-Lo container volumes by 1.1% with an outturn of 554,259 TEU in 2010.

Dublin Port's position as the island's largest Lo-Lo (unitised) port was reinforced by the rail-freight services to Ballina. According to IWT the service on an annual basis saves up to 5.5m road kilometres and CO2 emissions are reduced by as much as 2,750 tonnes. In addition the service removes up to 10,000 trucks away from the roads.

The Common User Container Terminal is also a multi-model terminal, as Ro-Ro traffic started in 2009 with the installation of a new ramp at berth 36/37 at Ocean Pier, Alexandra Basin East. In 2010 the port recorded Ro-Ro freight units increase by 12.8% to 725,665 which is less than 1% down from the port's highest ever throughput.

Ro-Ro growth in 2010 was driven in part by the new CLdN /Cobelfret Ro-Ro services to Zeebrugge and Rotterdam. CLdN's ro-ro Yasmine made a recent first-time visit to the port followed by the newest vessel of the Belgium owned fleet, Amandine (see photo) the last of six con-ro newbuilds, which too made an inaugural visit to the port. The 195-m vessel departed from the upgraded ramp at Ocean Pier yesterday bound for Rotterdam.

For further port traffic figures which showed an overall increase in the port's volumes of 6.1% in 2010, logon here

Published in Ports & Shipping

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