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Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
New ferry for the Isle of Man is on schedule for delivery in 2023
Work on the new Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's flagship ferry, Manxman, is on schedule. As previously reported on Afloat, the vessel is under construction in a South Korean shipyard and is due to be ready by 2023. Managing…
The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford is to discuss the potential of the ferry port of Holyhead in Anglesey.
In north Wales, Rhun ap Iorwerth the Ynys Môn (Anglesey) MS, will meet with Wales’ First Minister, Mark Drakeford, to discuss the investment and support needed to unleash the potential at Holyhead's port. During questions to the First Minister this…
Truck freight volumes fall by a third on Dublin-Holyhead route in nine months. Irish shipping traffic had not been affected, with between 20 and 22 ships continuing to arrive into Dublin Port (as above) every day according to the port's chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly.
As the impact of Brexit continues affecting trade, lorry freight volumes on ferries between Dublin and Holyhead – the busiest Irish Sea route – fell by a third in the first nine months of the year. New industry figures to…
The luxury Baltic Sea cruise-ferry, MS Romantika yesterday heads up the Firth of Clyde bound for Glasgow where the ship will be docked during COP26 so to house delegates. The ferry Afloat adds, asides working on charter, normally plied between Sweden and Latvia, though due to Covid, services has been suspended since March, 2020.
The first of two large Baltic Sea cruise ferries which arrived yesterday (13 Oct) on the River Clyde is set to house COP26 delegates in Glasgow. The cruise ferry that called to the Scottish city was MS Romantika which has docked…
Northern Ireland Protocal: Freight lorries on board a ferry bound for Belfast during a crossing of the North Channel from Scotland.
According to BBC News, the EU is to set out proposals later to address the row about trade in Northern Ireland. The UK wants to change the deal struck as part of the Brexit process to allow goods to circulate…
Irish-French sea connections reach 44 with new Dunkirk terminal. AFLOAT highlights these routes is a combination of ro-ro (ferry) and lo-lo (container) shipping routes operating directly between Ireland and mainland Europe through France.
Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, is today inaugurating a new Irish terminal at the French ferry port of Dunkirk, with Ireland-France shipping routes rising from 12 before Brexit to 44 now. It has already handled nearly 50,000 freight units…
Investigation: The turmoil engulfing Scotland’s ferry service is fuelling island depopulation and leaving remote businesses “teetering on the brink”, according to community leaders. Above: The raised bow visor of the veteran ferry Hebridean Isles, dating to 1985, Afloat adds operates between Kennacraig (above) on Mull of Kintyre (Argyll) to Islay, the southernmost of the inner Hebrides Isles that is closest to Northern Ireland.
Vessels carrying passengers were once built to last, now under the Scottish National Party (SNP) they are not being built at all. The operator at the heart of Scotland’s west coast ferry crisis, Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac), has been around for…
Shortage of skilled seafarers in the shipping sector due to Brexit and Pandemic, requires women to take up a career says Stena Line. Among them is Captain Lynette Bryson, Master of the Stena Adventurer on the Dublin-Holyhead route. The Ireland-Wales link is also operated by Stena Estrid.
Stena Line believes that if the shipping industry is going to solve its jobs’ crisis due to Brexit and the Pandemic, there is a simple solution; it urgently needs to encourage more women to work in careers at sea, in…
The Stena Superfast VIII launched its fast rescue craft
In the early evening of Saturday, 2nd October, Belfast Coastguard put out a MAYDAY in response to a 20ft yacht with four people on board reportedly taking on water and without power, a mile north of Corsewall Point, at the…
Stena Estrid enters Dublin Port on her maiden voyage in January 2020
Duty-free shopping is making a big impact as it proves popular with passengers once again on routes between Ireland and Wales. Early sales figures show the huge potential it has to help the travel sector bounce back after the pandemic.…
Freight volumes increased on Brittany Ferries Ireland-Spain route of Rosslare-Bilbao (above) where Afloat has identified the French operators ro-pax Connemara. Also berthed in the port on the Astuarias coast is the chartered in ro-ro freighter MN Pélican which serves the company's UK-Spain services.
Brittany Ferries is carrying more than 1,000 freight units a month on its Ireland-Spain route of Rosslare-Bilbao. In total, 7,874 units were carried in the first eight months of this year, which was 70% or 3,246 units up on 2020…
At just shy of 240-meters each in length, two 'E-Flexer' (MkII) ro-pax class ferries designed in collaboration with Stena RoRo and under construction at the CMI Jinling Shipyard in Weihai, China, are expected to be delivered to the Baltic Sea during 2022. The newbuilds are larger versions of their Irish Sea counterparts currently serving between Belfast-Birkenhead (Liverpool) and Dublin-Holyhead.
Stena Line which operates three of their 'E-Flexer' ro-pax class ferries on the Irish Sea, is to continue its expansion on the Baltic Sea during 2022, increasing both freight-and passenger capacity with larger versions of the new class. The Swedish…
Stena Line in Scandinavia on their Gothenburg(Sweden)-Fredrikshamn (Denmark) route is to introduce before 2030 the world's first fossil-free ferries of its kind
Stena Line, the Danish Port of Fredrikshamn and the Fredrikshamn Municipality recently signed an historic agreement, to take their share of responsibility for the Gothenburg-Fredrikshamn route to become the world's first fossil-free ferry line of its kind. The agreement on…
LNG facilities under construction for the arrival of Brittany Ferries’ first LNG powered-ship Salamanca that will serve UK-Spain routes from 2022.
Brittany Ferries has welcomed the start of construction of LNG bunker facilities in Bilbao on the northern Spanish coast. Fuel giant Repsol has confirmed the news which paves the way for the arrival of Brittany Ferries’ first LNG powered-ship Salamanca…
At the north Wales ferry port of Holyhead, Afloat adds operated by Stena, is also where another Swedish company, the travel retailer R&F has opened 'probably' the world's smallest border shop!
According to NorthWalesLive, the Port of Holyhead, the "world's smallest" border duty free store has opened using the inside of a shipping container. Irish daytrippers were a regular sight on the streets of Holyhead during the 1980s and 90s, with…
Brittany Ferries, the largest ferry firm operating under the French flag and CMA CGM Group, a major global logistics and container operator, has agreed to make a major investment to support the ferry company in a post-Covid-19 recovery.
Brittany Ferries and the CMA CGM Group, a world leader in shipping and logistics, announced that CMA CGM has agreed to make a €25m investment in the largest ferry company operating under the French flag, including €10m in quasi-equity.  Through…

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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