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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…
Northlink Ferries Hamnavoe which AFLOAT adds operates between the Scottish mainland and Orkney, where the impressive 449 foot 'sea-stack' of the Old Man of Hoy forms part of the island archipelago. The 600 passenger/92 car/20 lorry capacity ferry was built in 2002 by Aker Finnyards. The same Finnish shipyard launched in the previous year Irish Ferries Ulysses.
International service company, the Serco Group plc has been selected by the Scottish Government as preferred bidder in the contract to continue managing and operating the lifeline of Northern Isles Ferry Services to the Orkney and Shetland islands.  The passenger…
At the Port of Dover, AFLOAT adds in the foreground is a 'Darwin' class ferry of P&O Ferries, one of four ferry firms awarded contracts to transport medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit. In the background is newbuild cruiseship Spirit of Discovery (SAGA) which made its maiden calls to Ireland this season and Europa (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises), a previous caller to such waters.
BBC News reports that the UK government has awarded £86.6m of contracts to ferry companies to transport medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Brittany Ferries, DFDS (see: related Brexit info), P&O and Stena Line will be able to deliver…
Stena Line said talks over use of its former Scottish ferryport at Stranraer, should conclude "very soon". Above AFLOAT adds is one of a pair of 'Superfast' ferries (Stena Superfast VII) that operate Belfast-Cairnryan. The port located on Loch Ryan (as above) is nearby to Stranraer which the operator served until 2011.
Operator, Stena Line has said it hopes to conclude negotiations "very soon" which could allow its former ferryport at Stranraer in Scotland to be used as a lorry park. The Scottish government revealed the plans in the event of a…
New Service? Rosslare Europort-Le Havre, France shipping route could benefit Waterford. Above: AFLOAT adds berthed is the trio of ferries that serve the Wexford ferryport on routes to Fishguard and Pembroke, Wales and Cherbourg, France. In addition there is already a route to Le Havre in the form of a 'freight'-only ro-ro vessel operated by Neptune Lines that began in 2017.
In Waterford, the Green Party has welcomed moves to open a new shipping route linking Rosslare Europort to Le Havre in France. An Irish delegation according to WaterfordLive, met with representatives of the French government and officials from the port…
Ropax Ben-My-Chree Afloat adds is seen berthed in Douglas Harbour
The Manx government will be required to guarantee the Isle of Man Steam Packet’s loans when it builds its new ferries. Under the terms of the sea services agreement, the company must provide two new ships, with the first due…
Stena Superfast X docked at the Welsh port which is in the heart of Holyhead which means there is no room to expand to create a holding space for lorries coming through customs.
The UK's second biggest roll-on roll-off ferry port of Holyhead is from where Gwynedd Shipping operate and say they are "absolutely" not ready for a no deal Brexit. Andrew Kinsella, Managing Director of the shipping company speaking on ITV News,…

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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