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Displaying items by tag: Ferry sector

The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) has published its iShips Index of its Quarterly Shipping Report for the period Q2 of 2020 which covers and outlines trends within Ireland’s shipping industry, and as a result, the wider economy.

Below Afloat has highlighted the Quarterly's report focusing on the Ferry sector which of all the maritime transport modes has been most impacted by Covid-19. For more on this including graphs relating to this particular industry can be found (pages 20-24) from the attached download.

The index report accounts for the five separate market segments, representing the main maritime traffic sectors moving through Irish ports. They are Unitised trade which includes Lift-on/Lift-off (LoLo) and Roll-on/Roll-of (RoRo), while Bulk traffic includes Break Bulk, Dry Bulk and Liquid Bulk.

Passenger Market 

No Irish maritime market segment has been more severely disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic and its accompanying restrictions than the market for ferry passengers.

In Q2 2020, just over 1 million fewer passengers passed through ports on the island of Ireland. This represents an 88% decline compared to the same period in 2019. In all, 150,000 passengers either departed or arrived at ports on the island of Ireland in Q2 2020, compared to 1.2 million in Q2 2019.

In Ireland, passenger volumes through Dublin, Cork and Rosslare Europort declined by 91%, equivalent to 644,000 fewer passengers.

In Northern Ireland, passenger volumes declined by 83% through Belfast Harbour and the Port of Larne, equivalent to 415,000 fewer passengers.

Figures 15 & 16 illustrate the passenger volumes recorded across each shipping corridor5 for the first two quarters of 2020 and 2019. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on international ferry travel is evident in the totals for Q1 2020, as shown in Figure 15. Passenger volumes through Ireland and Northern Ireland declined by 20% and 16% respectively, compared to Q1 2019.

In Ireland, passenger travel on the Continental route was proportionally the worst affected as the pandemic and its associated restrictions took hold across mainland Europe sooner than that of Ireland and the UK.

However, the disruption caused by the pandemic was felt most in Q2 2020, as presented in Figure 16. As is evident in the table, such disruptions were felt market wide, with no route avoiding precipitous declines in passenger volumes. Proportionally, the Southern and Continental corridors recorded equivalent declines of 93%, or approximately 130,000 passengers each. Volumes on the Central corridor declined by 89%, equivalent to a loss of 380,000 passengers. In terms of market shares, the Central corridor represented a 70% share of the Irish market. This share is 10% greater than in 2019 and was accompanied by declines on the Southern and Continental Corridors, which fell by 5% each.

On the Northern corridor, volumes fared marginally better as passenger numbers declined by 83%, equivalent to 415,000 passengers. The Northern Corridor represented 56% of all passengers on the island in Q2, a 16% increase on the average market share held for the last six years. The lack of requirement for international travel restrictions between mainland UK ports and Northern Irish ports likely contributed to the shallower declines and increased market shares of volumes through Belfast Harbour and The Port of Larne.

Figure 17 provides a graphical representation of the volumes recorded on each corridor. As mentioned above, the precipitous declines in volumes were felt market wide, with the Southern and Continental corridors recording the steepest proportional declines, followed by the Central and Northern corridors.

Figure 18 combines passenger volumes from Q1 and Q2 to illustrate market performance for the first half year (H1) of 2019 and 2020. In H1 2020, roughly 700,000 fewer passengers passed through ports in Ireland, equivalent to a decline of 69% compared to H1 2019. Northern Irish ports recorded roughly 460,000 fewer passengers, a decline of 59% over 2019. The continental corridor recorded the greatest proportional declines of any corridor on the island of Ireland.

In terms of which months were most affected by the pandemic in H1 2020, Figure 19 illustrated passenger volumes from January to June across the Irish ports of Dublin, Rosslare Europort and the Port of Cork. As is evident in Figure 19 below, passenger volumes begin to steadily decline in the first three months of 2020. April and May were the hardest hit months in H1 2020, as pandemic related restrictions on economic activity and international travel, both in Ireland and across Europe, were strictest during this time.

The IMDO has closely monitored passenger travel through Irish ports on a weekly basis since the outbreak of the pandemic in Ireland. Passenger volumes have slowly continued to rise since their lowest point in mid-April, but at the time ofthis publication, remain considerably below volumes recorded in any previous summer period, the peak period for passenger travel. As restrictions on international travel currently remain in place, the ferry passenger market is far from making a full recovery to previous volumes.

Published in Ferry
DFDS Seaways, which only entered into the Irish Sea ferry sector, after acquiring Norfolkline operations during the summer has sold two freight routes and vessels to Stena Line, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The sale covers the routes between Belfast and Birkenhead (Liverpool) and Belfast-Heysham. Operating on the northern Irish Sea routes are two 13,000 gross tonnes Japanese built freight ro-ro ferries sisters Hibernia Seaways and Scotia Seaways in addition to two chartered ro-pax vessels as part of the transaction.

Niels Smedegaard, CEO of DFDS, said: "The Irish routes we took over in conjunction with the purchase of Norfolkline have, in spite of the recent impressive efforts by everyone employed on the routes, in the last two years lost more than thirty million euros. Given the depressed economies a turnaround of the activities, without structural solutions, is not realistic. On this basis, we have decided to scale back our activities and sell the two routes to and from Belfast."

In the deal Stena Line, the Swedish owner will also take control of port terminals in Belfast, Birkenhead and Heysham. The majority of shore-based staff at these port terminals will be transferred to Stena, maintaining their current conditions.

DFDS and Stena Line will share staff at these locations during an agreed transitional period at the end of which DFDS will establish their own agency operations at Birkenhead and Heysham.

The new arrangement will see DFDS focusing on its other services between Dublin to Birkenhead (which includes passengers) and from Dublin to Heysham. Italian built sisters ro-pax sisters Liverpool Seaways and Dublin Seaways currently operate on the Dublin-Birkenhead route and the 120-trailer freight-ferry, Anglia Seaways maintains serving the Heysham route. Operations at the Dublin Port terminal are not affected by this transaction.

DFDS will continue to review their strategic and operations routes in Dublin, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2011. The Danish owned shipping and logistics transportation company operate an extensive route network throughout the Irish Sea, North Sea and Scandinavia.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.


At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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