Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Ireland-France Route Is Strongest Performer for Brittany Ferries But Warns of Brexit on UK Services

21st October 2018
The chartered Connemara contributed to boosting Brittany Ferries Cork-Roscoff (Ireland-France) route as the operators strongest performing of the company's network of 12 routes that collectively also links those between the UK, France and Spain. AFLOAT adds the Cypriot flagged Connemara arriving to Cork (Ringaskiddy). In the background the stern of a Cunard Line 'Vista' class cruiseship that called to Cobh. The chartered Connemara contributed to boosting Brittany Ferries Cork-Roscoff (Ireland-France) route as the operators strongest performing of the company's network of 12 routes that collectively also links those between the UK, France and Spain. AFLOAT adds the Cypriot flagged Connemara arriving to Cork (Ringaskiddy). In the background the stern of a Cunard Line 'Vista' class cruiseship that called to Cobh. Credit: Brittany Ferries

#FerryNews- Cork-Roscoff route was the strongest performing Brittany Ferries service of the French company's network, linking the UK, France and Spain, however concerns over Brexit loom on the horizon, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Figures released by Brittany Ferries for passenger and freight figures covering quarter-three period (July-Sept) 2018 show an encouraging season. During the 3-month period, passengers figures on the Ireland-France route for 2017 was 44,744 and this compared to this year with 48,700 (an increase of 9 per cent).

The rise in passengers is reflected through the introduction in May of additional capacity following the debut of the chartered-ropax, Connemara on the Ireland-France route but also on the new first ever 'direct' Ireland-Spain link between Cork and Santander.

On the UK, Spain and Ireland routes, there were 127,434 passengers in 2017 and for this season the figure reached 142,108 a rise of 12% on these long-haul routes, again due to the contribution of Connemara.

Overall passenger numbers on Brittany Ferries routes over the summer season were also up 2pc to 1,078,507 compared to the same period last year.

In terms of freight figures, Brittany Ferries have published an overall total for all routes (and likewise of passengers, it is for the same timeframe). Total freight carried in 2017 was 47,815 while for this season the number was marginally down at 45,649. A difference of -5 per cent. 

Brittany Ferries which uses three UK English Channel ports (Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth) is where 85 per cent of the ferry firm's passengers are UK holidaymakers visiting key regions in France and northern Spain.

In recent months, Brittany Ferries announced a total €450m investment in three new ships post-Brexit on UK-France-Spain services (firstly next year, LPG fuelled Honfleur followed by a pair of Stena E-Flexers), however they also raised an alarm. This is from a fall in demand for family holidays next summer, which Brittany Ferries has warned of serious consequences for international tourism and the regions it serves if a Brexit deal does not bring certainty and the free movement across borders enjoyed by customers today.

Roll back to more than four decades when the origins of Brittany Ferries arose from Breton farmers wanting to export vegatables to new markets in the UK, which would lead to the formation of the largest ferry operator currently on the English Channel. The company, Bretagne-Angleterre-Irlande (B.A.I) otherwise as we know as Brittany Ferries was founded by Alexis Gourvennec who strove to enrich Brittany for the benefit of its citizens.

Since Brittany Ferries first sailing took place in 2 February 1973, the day after the UK (along with Ireland and Denmark) joined the European Economic Community (forerunner to the EU), the French operator has grown into a multi-national operation whose biggest export region is British tourists.

The launch earlier this year of the new Ireland-Spain service has opened up opportunities not just for tourists but also freight-hauliers. In addition to increasing cultural Celtic connections with the Iberian peninsula.

Published in Brittany Ferries
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

Email The Author

Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

About Brittany Ferries

In 1967 a farmer from Finistère in Brittany, Alexis Gourvennec, succeeded in bringing together a variety of organisations from the region to embark on an ambitious project: the aim was to open up the region, to improve its infrastructure and to enrich its people by turning to traditional partners such as Ireland and the UK. In 1972 BAI (Brittany-England-Ireland) was born.

The first cross-Channel link was inaugurated in January 1973, when a converted Israeli tank-carrier called Kerisnel left the port of Roscoff for Plymouth carrying trucks loaded with Breton vegetables such as cauliflowers and artichokes. The story, therefore, begins on 2 January 1973, 24 hours after Great Britain's entry into the Common Market (EEC).

From these humble beginnings however, Brittany Ferries as the company was re-named quickly opened up to passenger transport, then became a tour operator.

Today, Brittany Ferries has established itself as the national leader in French maritime transport: an atypical leader, under private ownership, still owned by a Breton agricultural cooperative.

Eighty five percent of the company’s passengers are British.

Key Brittany Ferries figures:

  • Turnover: €202.4 million (compared with €469m in 2019)
  • Investment in three new ships, Galicia plus two new vessels powered by cleaner LNG (liquefied natural gas) arriving in 2022 and 2023
  • Employment: 2,474 seafarers and shore staff (average high/low season)
  • Passengers: 752,102 in 2020 (compared with 2,498,354 in 2019)
  • Freight: 160,377 in 2020 (compared with 201,554 in 2019)
  • Twelve ships operating services that connect France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain (non-Covid year) across 14 routes
  • Twelve ports in total: Bilbao, Santander, Portsmouth, Poole, Plymouth, Cork, Rosslare, Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Saint-Malo, Roscoff
  • Tourism in Europe: 231,000 unique visitors, staying 2.6 million bed-nights in France in 2020 (compared with 857,000 unique visitors, staying 8,7 million bed-nights in 2019).

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating