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Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
The main Isle of Arran ferry on the Forth of Clyde service linking Ardrossan and Brodick AFLOAT adds has the name of the vessel displayed in both English and Gaelic. The ferry Caledonian Isles (Eileanan Chaledonia) is one of the largest in the 33 strong fleet operating in Scotland's Western Isles.
The largest UK ferry and harbour operator is adding to its support for Gaelic speakers by offering a bi-lingual English and Gaelic customer care service. As a pilot project over the summer the Scottish ferry operator, Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) created…
Leadship of the new E-Flexer class ropax, Stena Estrid AFLOAT adds is seen on arrival in Dublin Port yesterday following a maiden crossing from Holyhead, north Wales. In the foreground of the 'next-generation' ferry is a Dublin Port tug Shackleton which presented a traditional maritime water cannon salute.
Not even Storm Brendan as Afloat reported, could prevent Stena Line’s newest ferry Stena Estrid making its maiden voyage yesterday on the Holyhead to Dublin route. After more than six years’ in planning and construction, Estrid braved the challenging sea conditions…
Stena Estrid AFLOAT adds departing this morning from Holyhead on the Irish Sea route to Dublin Port. The new leadship E-Flexer class ferry this afternoon is to complete a maiden round trip voyage to its north Wales homeport, albeit delayed due to Storm Brendan.
The newest Stena Line ferry is expected to begin sailing the Dublin to Holyhead route on the Irish Sea today. The 215m (705ft) Stena Estrid, writes Independent.ie, is described as "one of the most advanced vessels in operation", with space to…
The new Joe Magee ferry on Lough Erne
The traditional Lough Erne Cot is a vessel unique to Upper and Lower Lough Erne and used there for possibly 2000 years. It was popular for transporting goods, people and cattle around the islands in the lakes in County Fermanagh…
Roonagh Pier, Louisburgh which was posted on Facebook by the Co. Mayo ferry operator.
A ferry operator in Co. Mayo has issued a call for break-water and new pier facilities at Roonagh, Louisburgh. According to The Connaught Telegraph, the Clare Island Ferry Co. (O'Grady) posted a photograph on ts Facebook page of Roonagh (yesterday)…
The 'next generation' ferry, Stena Estrid will sail between Holyhead and Dublin
A new ferry to be introduced by Stena Line is expected to enter commercial service next week but the hunt is on for a ‘god parent’ after the Irish Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar turned down the invitation. According to NorthWalesLive, the Stena…
Stranded ferry passengers were left on the Isle of Arran in south-west Scotland. The Brodick-Ardrossan route on the Forth of Clyde is served a pair of ferries one of which AFLOAT pictured above, the Isle of Arran is offshore of its island namesake.
Passengers taking a ferry have been stranded on the Isle of Arran, Scotland, after bad weather caused service disruption and cancellations. Gusts of up to 60mph, reported STV News, have affected the safe delivery of CalMac sevices from Brodick to Ardrossan…
The ferry arrived (at Holyhead, north Wales) after a 10,000 mile voyage from the Chinese shipyard where it was built
Stena Line's first "next generation" ferry has arrived at its Wales base. The Stena Estrid writes NorthWalesLive, arrived at Holyhead (yesterday) after a brief visit to Dublin Port for berthing trials late on Sunday night. Built in China, the ship set…
The fleet of the Manx ferry operator together berthed in Douglas
There has been a 'positive' response to a company survey according to the Isle of Man Steam Packet. As Manx Radio reports, more than 7,000 people took part after it was launched at the end of last month. The Company is trying to gain a better understanding…
Ferry operator Stena Line has said it hopes to conclude negotiations "very soon" which could allow its old port at Stranraer to be used as a lorry park. As BBC news reports, the Scottish government revealed the plans in the…
The Carol Ship on the Strangford Lough Narrows
There’s been a ferry across the Strangford Lough Narrows between Portaferry and Strangford for four hundred years (reputed to be the oldest continuous ferry crossing in the world) but five years ago, in celebration of the Christmas season, there appeared…
The Scottish National Party (SNP) Government is facing the “fiasco” of being sued by its own ferry company, writes The Herald. Connectivity and Islands minister Paul Wheelhouse today confirmed that the state-owned ferry operator CalMac had raised legal proceedings over…
Fastferry Manannan is to remain berthed in Douglas Harbour over the winter months while Ben-My-Chree maintains service. As for freight ro-ro Arrow (seen entering the Manx capital) is on charter though will be available to ensure freight transport is continued.
The Isle of Man Steam Packet's fastferry, Manannan is to remain in Manx waters this winter. According to EnergyFM, the passenger /vehicle craft concluded the 2019 season earlier this month, maintaining a 100% technical reliability record during the whole summer,…
The newest ferry bound for Irish Sea service, Stena Estrid has departed the AVIC Weihai Shipyard in north-western China and is making its delivery voyage to Wales from where it is to operate on the Holyhead-Dublin route. Stena Estrid is the…
Plans to replace ferry Ben-My-Chree with new tonnage. The existing ropax operates the main Manx-UK route: Douglas-Heysham
The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company wants public opinion on a new ship.  The ferry operator reports Manx Radio, wants to know your thoughts, as it prepares for 'major investment in its fleet'. The company has plans to replace…
Irish Continental Group, the parent company of Irish Ferries has reported revenue of €308.8m in the first ten months of 2019, an increase of 8.2pc on the same period last year. As the Independent.ie writes, ICG said a "significant" proportion…

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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