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Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
Operating on Scotland's west coast is CalMac's Hebridean Isles as AFLOAT captured in this scene at Kennacraig on the Mull of Kintyre from where the ferry serves Islay. Built in 1985, the ferry is one of the oldest in the fleet which this winter will be undergoing a record £9m investment overhaul. The veteran vessel on several occasions stood in on Scotland's east coast for NorthLink Ferries where private operator Serco last month was awarded a £450m contract by the Scottish Government to continue maintaining Northern Isles services to Orkney and Shetlands Islands. See below: news update on the contract.
The largest ferry operator in Scotland, state-owned Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) is to spend more than £9 million targeted at vessel resilience in a response to challenges of an increasing average age of fleet. According to CalMac, this is in addition…
An Isle of Man based campaign wants people to "charge whilst you cross" when cars are on board the Steam-Packet ferry (from Heysham) as captured in this AFLOAT photo of ropax Ben-My-Chree entering Douglas Harbour.
In an aim to introduce electric vehicle charging points, a campaign has been set up to apply this on board ferries of the Isle of Man Steam Packet. David Dorricott from the Mountain View Innovation Centre based outside the (harbour town…
Replacing the ropax Connemara is the 1,000 passenger capacity Kerry (above), the latest addition to Brittany Ferries fleet. AFLOAT adds the 2,040 vehicle lane metre capacity Kerry is operating Cork-Santander sailings, that opened in 2018 firstly using the also Italian (Visentini) built Connemara which today was welcomed to the shipping register of France.
Brittany Ferries’ Connemara has been welcomed today to the shipping register of France, creating jobs for French seafarers and bringing to 11 the number of ships of the fleet sailing under the red, white and blue of the tricolour. Afloat…
Stena Estrid, the first of three next generation RoPax ferries destined for the Irish Sea, has successfully completed sea trials in China’s Yellow Sea. The newbuild built at the AVIC Weihai Shipyard is pictured during sea trials and is now on schedule to start operating on the Dublin to Holyhead route in early 2020.
Operator Stena Line has announced that the first of its three new E-Flexer class ferries destined for the Irish Sea, Stena Estrid has successfully completed sea trials in China’s Yellow Sea. Following three days of extensive testing, the new vessel…
A Stena E-Flexer class newbuild, Cote D'Opale is to be chartered to operator DFDS for the Dover-Calais route in 2021. AFLOAT adds the leadship in the new series of E-Flexers built in China, Stena Estrid is to make a debut for Stena on the Irish Sea route of Dublin-Holyhead with sailings operating in early 2020.
Danish operator DFDS recently announced another milestone at the Avic Shipyard in Weihai, China, as the keel was officially laid on the new charter vessel, Cote D'Opale, the name which was previously reported on Owner of the newbuild Stena-E-Flexer…
Holyhead Port: UK Government minister Michael Gove made the admission during a meeting with Welsh Government AMs. Above: AFLOAT adds the ferries Ulysses (Irish Ferries) and Stena Adventurer (Stena Line) which compete on the route to Dublin Port, use the berths at Salt Island which is joined by a causeway to Holyhead on Holy Island off Anglesey, north Wales.
The UK Government reports NorthWalesLive, has not considered the impact of Boris Johnson's Brexit plan will have on Holyhead Port, a minister has said. Michael Gove (who visited the ferryport in August) is the UK Government's Brexit planning minister and…
The Freight Transport Association has warned of the additional admin burden facing NI transport companies. Above: Lorries in the compound of the VT2 Terminal, Belfast Harbour
Industy representives have warned that exit declarations on goods shipped from Northern Ireland ferryports to the rest of the UK will burden traders with yet more Brexit red tape. The warning reports, comes as the UK Government’s risk assessment…
The coastal car-ferry AFLOAT adds is Aisling Gabrielle which plies across the sea-border of Carlingford Lough and in this view is seen making a crossing from Greencastle, Co. Down (on right) bound for Greenore, Co. Louth.
Operators of the Carlingford Lough Ferry have vowed to keep on sailing despite the potential impact of Brexit, writes The Talk of the Town.  With the possibility of the border between the United Kingdom and Europe being in the middle…
Robert Quayle (left) at the opening of the (fastferry) Manannan in 2009. Afloat adds the high-speed catamaran operates a seasonal services linking Douglas, IOM to Belfast and Dublin.
According to EnergyFM, the chairman of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company will retire in Spring 2020 after holding his position for over 20 years. Robert Quayle was appointed as chair in 2008 and was a director of the…
A new border inspection post will be used at Rosslare Europort if new checks need to be imposed on incoming freight traffic from the UK. Above: AFLOAT's photo at the Irish ferryport where trucks disembark from the uppermost vehicle deck of Irish Ferries Isle of Inishmore having arrived from the UK port of Pembroke Dock in south Wales.
At one of the country's key transport hubs, the managers of Rosslare Europort have insisted that they are ready for Brexit - whenever and however it happens. Work is almost complete according to RTE News, on a new border inspection…
Uppermost passenger deck of Irish Ferries W.B Yeats while berthed at Dublin Port from where the cruiseferry returned from dry-dock in France at the weekend to continue operating to Holyhead, north Wales over the winter months.
W.B. Yeats returned to the Irish Sea following a scheduled routine dry-docking in France which sees the cruiseferry operate the Dublin-Holyhead route over the winter months, writes Jehan Ashmore. The 1,850 passenger/1,216 car and 165 lorry capacity W.B. Yeats on…
 A DFDS articulated lorry at Loch Ryan Port, Cairnryan, Scotland (see Stranraer Ferry News, 11 Oct) where AFLOAT adds is berthed Stena Superfast VIII which links Belfast, Northern Ireland.  A neighbouring ferry service but using Cairnryan's older terminal, is operated by P&O Ferries connecting Larne Port.
Important transport networks across Scotland, reports The Herald, are at risk of grinding to a halt next month while essential services and even future housebuilding programmes could be axed after Brexit, according to council emergency planning documents. Preparation and assessment…
Container trailers transported by Ro-Ro ferries that use ports within the Peel Ports Group, among them Afloat adds on the Irish Sea at Liverpool, Heyham and across the North Sea using London (Medway). All three ports received UK Government funding to enhance measures ahead of the expected 'Brexit' departure from the EU on 31 October.
According to one of the UK's ports' operators, the Peel Ports Group say they have the capability to limit the impact (of Brexit) on the Britain's expected departure from the EU on 31 October which is expected to have on…
Ropax Ben-My-Chree and fastferry Manannan Afloat adds berthed at the operators homeport of Douglas, Isle of Man
Ferry firm the Isle of Man Steam Packet made a profit of £9.3m in the year that it was acquired by the Manx government. But operating profits writes IOMToday, have fallen slightly. Accounts for the Isle of Man Steam Packet…
W.B. Yeats on the occasion of a first call to Rosslare Europort which took place in December, 2018. A repeat call to the Wexford ferryport occurred at the weekend in addition to a first visit to Pembroke Dock, Wales where the port authority confirmed to AFLOAT that berthing trials were made with a view to cover future dry-docks of the Rosslare route's ferry Isle of Inishmore.
W.B. Yeats has completed a first high-season on the year-round operated Dublin-Cherbourg route and the €144m cruiseferry built in 2018 made its inaugural dry-docking in France this morning, writes Jehan Ashmore. Afloat tracked W.B. Yeats to Dunkerque (East) and taking its…
Competing ferries, Stena Adventurer and Norbank on the Irish Sea that serve on 'land-bridge' routes via the UK.
Operators in the ferry industry, reports, have been accused of exploiting Ireland's vulnerability to Brexit to get the consumer rules they want. In July, Irish Ferries, Stena Line and Brittany Ferries wrote to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar asking the government…

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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