Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Ports & Shipping news

#PortRegulation - The European Commission, Council and Parliament after 15 years of discussions, have reached an agreement on a Port Regulation, a legal European framework for organising the port services and financial transparency for ports in Europe.

This week at the 4th trilogue meeting, the Dutch Presidency and the EP main negotiators reached a compromise. The port regulation can however only be considered as adopted after the formal approval by both the Parliament and the Council following their respective procedures. This formal approval process is expected to take place in autumn.

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) believes that the final compromise is, in many ways, a significant improvement on the original Commission proposal of May 2013. European ports welcome in particular:

A flexible framework for the organisation of port services respecting the diversity of port in Europe by allowing different tools (limitation, PSO, internal operator,…);
More financial transparency when ports receive public funding;

The way the initially very prescriptive provisions on customers and stakeholder relations have been amended in favour of more realistic general principles on how to deal with stakeholders and port users;

The fact that the concept of an “Independent Supervisory Body” was abandoned in favor of a more hands-on and less bureaucratic provision setting out a good mechanism for handling complaints;
The decision not to enlarge the scope of the directive on the award of concession contracts 2014/23/EU through this regulation.

ESPO however regrets that national governments have not shown more ambition in moving towards a clear framework for port authorities to set their own charges and develop their own financial strategy. European ports believe that the plea for less public funding for ports can only be realised if port authorities can manage themselves their financial situation and decide how to structure and optimise their income.

ESPO and its members considered the principle of autonomy as put forward in the initial Commission proposal and fully supported by the European Parliament as one of the main assets of the Port Regulation and an important condition for unleashing the potential of all European ports in Europe.

ESPO fully recognizes that the final text of Article 14 will be giving port authorities in Europe the possibility to determine the level and structure of the port infrastructure charges and to enter into individual negotiations with their customers. It remains however unclear to what extent national governments may limit this negotiating power of port authorities by setting general requirements within their national ports policy.

“The final text of Article 14 on infrastructure charges may be seen as a sort of consolidation of the current 2-tier system consisting of ports which can develop their charging system in an autonomous way and those ports that do not have these basic management tools. We must hope however that Member States will use this opportunity to review the way they consider ports and to realise that giving port authorities the power to negotiate and to develop their own charging policy is the best way to enhance the competitiveness of European ports and the level playing field”, says Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost.

“We would like to thank the Commission, the Council and the Parliament for their constructive cooperation during this legislative process. Our special thanks go to the Rapporteur, Knut Fleckenstein, for his continuous support in favour of giving European ports more autonomy. We regret that the port regulation has not delivered fully on that point.” says ESPO Chairman Santiago Garcia Mila.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#ExportersBrexit - Bad news for Irish exporters into the UK as these imports will decline as foreign products become more expensive thanks to the weakening of sterling, ratings agency Fitch has warned.

The Irish Independent writes that a weaker sterling harms the competitiveness of Irish exporters because it cuts margins and makes it more expensive for them to do business in the UK. But it benefits UK domestic businesses.

The pound has weakened considerably since late last year. At the end of November, €1 bought 69 pence. At the close of polls on Thursday, that had weakened to 76 pence, but when the Brexit vote became apparent, it weakened further and is now hovering around the 83 pence mark.

Fitch said the fall in sterling will boost UK exports, but have a negative impact on imports.

"Imports look likely to decline as investment contracts and foreign products become more expensive, resulting in expenditure switching to domestically produced goods and services and higher inflation," the ratings agency has said.

The Irish Exporters Association and other business representative groups has already warned about the impact of currency fluctuations on Irish business.
Simon McKeever, the IEA chief executive, warned further weakening is likely.

And the organisation has called on firms to hedge against this and to talk to the banks.

For much more on this story click here.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#RMShelenaHome – RMS St. Helena, the passenger and cargo vessel which provides a lifeline to St. Helena, a British Overseas Territory, deep in the South Atlantic, completed her final ever voyage from the UK yesterday. The 4,500 mile voyage having taken two weeks, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 1990 custom built RMS St. Helena or ‘RMS’ as she is affectionately known by the islanders or ‘Saints', made a historic once off visit to London. The 105m long vessel afterwards departed downriver from Tilbury on the Thames Estuary. 

The St. Helena Line vessel’s voyage (no. 243) had made en-route calls to Tenerife in the Canary Islands and Ascension, also a UK overseas territory.

On board were 116 passengers, both islanders and tourists making one of the last voyages before she is decommissioned. Also the dog ‘Dusty’ a black labrador belonging to the island’s new governor was also conveyed. 

Among the cargoes containing food, were 38 cars and a pair of fire engines from Yorkshire, as the Royal Mail Ship is the only means of transport available to St. Helena.

RMS St. Helena arrived as scheduled to anchor offshore off Jamestown, the capital of the island (population: 4,500). Residents and tourists disembarked by tender.

The 47sq mile territory is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world, however a new airport, an island first, will change all that when it opens. Delays, however in beginning commercial flights to South Africa have led to an extension of voyages by the ‘RMS’ that will maintain the routine service that is to and from Cape Town.

After a career spanning just over a quarter century, RMS St. Helena, the 1,000th ship to be built by A&P Aberdeen, will then be sold. In that timeframe she made a once off charter cruise to Ireland in 1995, calling to Dublin and Cobh (Cork). The London registered 6,797 tonnes vessel made her only call to the UK capital earlier this month with a visit by Royalty.  

Shipping services will continue, as AW Ship Management, which operates the RMS St. Helena, will continue operations albeit in the form of a container ship. This will be the M.V. St. Helena with a limited passenger capacity totaling a mere 8-10 persons.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#RecordPerformance -Turnover at Belfast Harbour, which handles 70% of Northern Ireland’s seaborne trade and 20% of the entire island’s, rose by 3.4% to £54.3m. According to the annual report for 2015, operating profit also increased by 3.4% to stand at £28.7m. Profits before Tax rose 2.3% to £29.9m.

The report also contained details of infrastructure projects completed during the financial year totaling £18 million – up almost 40% on the previous year – and new projects totaling £100 million which are either underway or due to commence within the next six months.

Commenting on the results Dr. David Dobbin, Belfast Harbour’s Chairman said: “This has been an excellent trading year for Belfast Harbour with 23 million tonnes of cargo being handled by the Port during 2015. We’re also pleased to report on the completion and progress of a number of ambitious investments which are driving the ongoing regeneration of Belfast Harbour Estate.

“Our role is to continue to manage, maintain and develop the resources of the Harbour, and optimize outcomes for our customers and the wider regional economy. All of our earnings are re-invested in projects such as improved container and quayside handling facilities, dockside cranes or the award-winning City Quays Grade ‘A’ office development. Work is also well underway on our new film studios and we hope to announce a contractor and brand operator for a new hotel at City Quays within the coming weeks.

“These investments are resulting in new jobs and improved regional competitiveness. Belfast Harbour is committed to helping the Northern Ireland economy grow and prosper.”

2015 was the second busiest year on record for imports and exports through Belfast Harbour, reflecting its long-term policy of developing best-in-class marine facilities. This included the purchase and order of two modern pilot boats, improved Roll-On / Roll-Off handling facilities and improved bulk storage capacity for customers operating in the salt and fertiliser sectors.

Property developments progressed by Belfast Harbour included the completion of City Quays 1 (now fully let to high calibre international occupiers), the commencement of work on its 124,000 sq ft sister office, the securing of planning for a four-star hotel at City Quays and the start of work this year on a new 130,000 sq ft film studio.

Dr. Dobbin added: “The landscape of Belfast Harbour is being transformed as new marine and real estate developments come to fruition. With £100 million committed to projects which are already underway, or are in the process of securing planning such as the proposed new cruise berth, we are laying the foundations for how Belfast Harbour will look and feel for the 21st Century.

“Trade in the first quarter of 2016 has already shown encouraging signs of growth, building upon the success of our customers and the outward looking ethos of Northern Ireland’s private sector. Our expectation is that such growth will enable the Harbour to continue to support and self-fund its ambitious investment programme, creating much needed quality jobs.”

The report highlighted continued growth in Belfast’s main routes to Scotland and England with the Belfast – Liverpool Stena service recording the strongest performance with a 4% increase.

Preparatory work on a new coal processing plant also continued and the Harbour provided leases to Titanic Foundation Ltd to facilitate the restoration and conversion of the former Harland & Wolff headquarters building in Titanic Quarter into a boutique hotel.

Added to this writes Afloat is the city's newest major maritime visitor attraction the restored and unique HMS Caroline. The battle-cruiser is the last surviving ship of the 1916 Battle of Jutland.

Published in Belfast Lough

#BrexitTradeIrelandUK – An Taoiseach Enda Kenny is on a two-day visit to the UK to encourage support from the Irish diaspora to vote 'Remain' in the EU Referendum, when he visits Liverpool and Manchester, this follow’s yesterday Thames flotilla face-off writes Jehan Ashmore.

The opposing sides of the Brexit debate involved rival flotillas from Sir Bob Geldof and Nigel Farage, where the focus centred on the EU Common fisheries policy, one of a plethora of fundamental topics in which the British electorate face. The nation goes to the polls on the EU Referendum this day next week.

Sir Bob Geldof of the ‘Remain’ camp on board the Sarpedon, traded insults with Nigel Farage, UKIP Leader and one of the high-profile campaigners who is advocating for the UK to ‘Leave’ the EU.

Speaking on RTE Radio I’s Ryan Tubridy Show this morning from London was an exasperated Geldof who said, “I think Britain’s going out". On the question of Ireland, he added “I would say they’re going out which means a border between North and South – a police border again, and the consequences of that – the smuggling and everything else.

The ‘Boomtown Rats’ frontman and originally a resident of Blackrock, Co. Dublin, also claimed the trawler vessel Farage was on board, Christina S (72m pelagic trawler) was involved in a £63m fishing fraud.

Geldof also appealed to the 5.5million Irish, both direct descendents and immigrants in the UK to back the ‘Remain’ campaign, given the UK is the 5th largest economy in the world. He also added the benefits of the EU to unite, despite its democratic deficit and against the backdrop of an increasing ‘fragile’ world.

The armada display between both sides involved around 30 fishing vessels of varying sizes, where larger trawlers came alongside the permanently moored HMS Belfast in the Pool of London. Only last week at the same mooring, RMS St. Helena made a unique first time visit to the capital before making a final voyage from the UK to her namesake island in the South Atlantic.

Smaller fishing craft, however headed further upriver, beyond Westminster Bridge to converge off the banks lining The Houses of Parliament. This led to further outbursts by the figures of the debate to coincide with Prime Minister's Questions inside the palace.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#RMSstHelena – RMS St. Helena having been bid farewell by spectators in Tilbury, London on her final ever voyage from the UK, yesterday evening, is now almost out of the English Channel bound ultimately for St. Helena, some 4,500 miles away, writes Jehan Ashmore.

At time of writing this end of era St. Helena Line voyage (no. 243) is mid-channel south of Plymouth, with 116 passengers on board, mostly St. Helenian’s returning home. In addition to tourists also curious to experience this unique combined passenger-cargo service opportunity to the island deep in South Atlantic Ocean.

Among the travel categories is a two-berth C Deck cabin costing £885 while those going 'solo' will have to fork out £4,506 for same accommodation albeit in the above B deck. 

At 6,797 gross tonnage, the 105m long vessel with 59 officers and crew has a capacity for 159 passengers in a variety of cabin berth configurations. There are two bars, a full waiter-service dining room, library, a gym, sun deck with customary outdoor swimming pool overlooking the stern.

Over the past quarter century, RMS St. Helena has been the principle method of transport for this 'life-line' only sea service connection of the British Overseas Territory with the outside world. As the volcanic outcrop is 1,200 miles from Cape Town, South Africa, (RMS normal 'mainland' port) the islanders depend for everything imaginable. This can range from humble baked beans, kitchen sinks, medical equipment, to cars and building materials,noting the island's first (yet to be opened) airport!

A representative of AW Ship Management that is responsible for RMS St. Helena, informed me that 'reefer' cargoes notably include precious! supplies of Cadbury and KitKat, as the ‘Saints’ as the islanders are called, have such a craving for these chocolates! On a more serious note, fire-fighting vehicles are also on board this current voyage. 

On a different voyage, one of the most unusual ‘passengers’ has been crocodiles! from South Africa to Tenerife, the next port of call of this fortnight long voyage.

Asides calling to Tenerife of the Canary Islands this Sunday, there be will a call the following Sunday to Ascension, also a British Overseas Territory. It is only the latter port of call that is routinely part of the normal St. Helena Line service that connects to Cape Town as previously referred.

All that is to change notably with this new airport, on an island of almost 50 square miles and a population of around 4,500 inhabitants. The airport was meant to open in May, however due to operational reasons, permission to begin commercial flights connecting South Africa have yet to be given. This will see a brief reprieve of voyages.

In addition, a containership to be renamed M.V. St. Helena is to be introduced by AW Ship Management this summer, albeit with limited accommodation for only up to 10 passengers. This will see the RMS withdrawn and sale of the 1989 Scottish built ship, which returned to the that country as reported on Afloat, during a once off charter cruise that included calls to Irish ports.

As a result of these developments, St. Helena Line has extended the sailing schedule. This voyage (no. 243) was to have marked the final ever service ending in mid-July by culminating in Cape Town.

The delay to the airport will see St. Helenian’s and visitors alike having an additional three voyages to Ascension Island and Cape Town. The final ever scheduled voyage, no. 246 is due to take place in late September. Thus ending a unique ‘maritime’ chapter for St. Helenian’s but also for the world.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#RMSstHelena - RMS St. Helena departed just after 4pm this afternoon to embark on her final ever voyage from the UK on a 4,500 miles journey bound for the South Atlantic Ocean island of St. Helena, writes Jehan Ashmore.

She is the last of the working Royal Mail Ships cargoship’s that also takes up to 159 passengers, and this evening the St. Helena Line vessel headed downriver of the Thames Estuary. The 59 crew of RMS St. Helena is to make en route calls, firstly Tenerife, where she is scheduled in four days. Normally, she sails to and from Jamestown, the island's capital to Cape Town, South Africa and that distance alone is a mere 1,200 miles!

The 6,797 gross tonnage ship which had a once off Irish call is to be withdrawn when her operators, AW Ship Management which won the contract to continue the service albeit by containership is introduced this summer. In addition the islands first airport has faced delays and has yet to open, however this will see an extension of these voyages scheduled to September.

The ‘RMS’ as she is simply and fondly called by St. Helenian’s of the volcanic British Overseas Territory, is heavily depended on the role of this ship. As for more than a quarter century the 105m long vessel with a capacity for 1,800 tonnes of cargo, has provided the only sea connection with the outside world, however this unique ‘liner’ service is to be withdrawn as referred above.

The rare call to London had involved a northbound voyage from the island when passengers disembarked from Tilbury earlier this month. This was followed by a first ever trip upriver to the Pool of London (her port of registry) last week.

At this iconic stretch of the Thames, several high-profile events were held to commemorate RMS St. Helena’s career, notably by a visit of Princess Anne, who took the UK-St. Helena voyage in 2002. In more recent years, RMS St. Helena has concentrated on her current South African voyages that have clocked up more than 87,000 nautical miles annually and that includes routine calls to Ascension Island.

This final departure this evening from the UK is voyage no. 243 and this highlights all those previous voyages since her career began in 1990 initially sailing from Cardiff. The Welsh capital ceased as a port of call due to redevelopment that posed restrictions on the tidal window. So the Scottish built vessel from Aberdeen, switched to the English south coast to Portland.

She is to be sold and as mentioned replaced by a German containership to be named M.V. St Helena, though given the type and size of vessel only up to 10 persons will be accommodated.

In the meantime, the islanders or ‘Saint’s and that of tourists await the opening of the first island airport that was due to have opened last month. Due to operational issues, commercial flights connecting with South Africa have been deferred until clearance is given. So the RMS will continue for now to maintain her valued and important island life-line role.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#RMSstHelena - RMS St. Helena, having served a 26 year career to her namesake island in the South Atlantic Ocean, surprisingly only this year she finally made a historic first visit to the centre of London, her port of registry, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The unique passenger-freight ship with Royal Mail Ship (RMS) designation made this momentous once-off final call to the UK capital, before she is to be decommissioned later this year.

As previously reported on, RMS St. Helena, recently completed a rare voyage to the UK under command of Captain Rodney Young. Normally she serves the only sea connection between St. Helena with the outside world to Cape Town, South Africa. A distance of 1,950km and taking a five-day voyage. 

On arrival to the UK, she first called to Tilbury Docks to disembark passengers and unload cargo, before spending four days last week moored upriver on the Thames in the Pool of London. The location surrounded by the iconic backdrop of Tower Bridge and The Tower of London. In addition to City Hall, the office been Borris Johnson's former workplace as Mayor of London.

Up until 2011, the St. Helena Line had the ship based from UK ports, initially Cardiff followed by a switch to Portland, Dorset. The vessel of 6,797 gross tonnage is under the operation of AW Ship Management Ltd. See related story, Andrew Weir Shipping (AWSR) of their former ro-ro Longstone, which as Dorset called to Dublin Port.

Last week's events to commemorate RMS St. Helena’s years of duty took place on board in the Pool of London while moored alongside HMS Belfast, the preserved WW2 Battle Cruiser. The Irish connection was apt, as Afloat reported, RMS St. Helena’s once-off charter cruise in 1995 to include Ireland, albeit not Belfast, but calls to Dublin and Cobh (Cork). These ports of call were part of a Swan Hellenic cruise of the Western Scottish Isles and also the Isle of Man.

During RMS St. Helena’s stay in the Pool of London, the Scottish custom-built vessel dating to 1989 was visited by the Royal family's, Princess Anne who had previously travelled on board to the island in 2002. On the theme of royalty, according to St. Helena Line, the only other RMS vessel is that of Cunard Line’s flagship liner, Queen Mary 2, a caller to several Irish ports since 2004.

The primary reason for ending the career of ‘RMS’ as she is affectionately called by St. Helenian’s or ‘Saints’ to whom they heavily depend as this ship is a life-line is due to new airport, the first built on the British Overseas Territory. The population of around 4,500 in more recent times have the right to hold UK passports, having previously had only those from the tiny territory.

At only 47 square miles the volcanic outcrop is 1,200 miles off Africa, from where commercial flights to Johannesburg were due to have begun recently, however delays to the airport’s opening (for details click here) have led to a brief reprieve by extending the number of voyages. The ship has two cargo holds equipped cranes. She can accommodate 159 passengers and has a  crew of 59.

During the Pool of London call, this opportunity provided me to meet the crew including both Captains Rodney Young and Andrew Greentree who hail along with most of catering crew from St. Helena. They were clearly very proud of RMS St. Helena which was kept in great condition, noting the timber decks with the outdoor pool. This formed part of the tours for invited guests and media of their unique ship and the service she has loyaly given, yet jobs will be lost when a replacement containership enters service. will have more details of this German vessel which will include ‘passengers’ albeit to a much reduced capacity compared to the 'RMS'.

Tomorrow’s departure from Tilbury (London Cruise Terminal), where RMS St. Helena is currently berthed to load containers (understood to include eight reefers). In addition to passenger guests who are to embark on what was scheduled to be the final ever voyage. This final UK southbound voyage will make en route calls to Tenerife, Ascension before finally reaching St. Helena and culminating in Cape Town in mid-July.

The extended voyages of one of the world’s last remaining combined passenger-freight liner services, are scheduled to late September. As usual, the deep-sea service will be primarily between Jamestown (at anchorage) off the capital of St. Helena and Cape Town. 

Published in Ports & Shipping

#Track&Trace - Samskip has launched track and trace capability across its 45ft refrigerated container fleet, bringing web-based remote management for temperature-controlled cargoes throughout the Samskip intermodal network.  

Over time, reports Multimodal, the entire Samskip 45ft reefer fleet is expected to feature the track & trace capability.

Track & trace management software will be used to monitor and control sensor-connected 45ft reefer units operating in shortsea, rail, barge and road services throughout Europe, and during terminal storage.

“The temperature data is live, enabling instantaneous control over our reefers, whether they are awaiting pick-up or delivery, or moving anywhere in our logistics chain,” said Johan Vogelaar, Manager Multimodal Services - Reefer Trade, Samskip.

“Pre-trip inspections are straightforward and speedy, with the potential for human error minimized. Meanwhile, automated alarms warn of any potential risk of cargo damage ahead of time.”

Investment in track & trace capability is more usually associated with deepsea operations, but it has clear benefits long distance intermodal moves. Shortsea transit already beats road trailer counterparts for reliability, Mr Vogelaar said, but the ability to make temperature adjustments and respond to malfunctions instantaneously brought a new competitive edge to Samskip’s temperature controlled services.

“We can always be in direct contact with our 45ft reefers, so cargo is never left unattended,” he said.

“Real-time temperature and location information can be shared within Samskip so that best practices are transparent all round.”

Cloud-based storage of data on the Track & Trace Global Management Server meant that supporting documentation and event histories could be downloaded at all times at the touch of a button, he said, while cloud-based data analytics played into intermodal’s planning superiority.

The new system’s ability to store container tracking and mapping data for up to two years is also expected to be critical to future equipment investment decisions. 

Published in Ports & Shipping

#ShippingReview- In the same week of Cruise Europe 2016 conference held in Dublin, the European Sea Port Organisation (ESPO) conference was also in town to include #myportinturku photo exhibition.

Irish Continental Group's chief executive made a €4.43 million profit on sale of shares in the company. Also ICG has ordered a €144m new cruiseferry to replace Irish Ferries chartered in ropax Epsilon serving on Welsh and French routes.

St. Helena, a British Overseas Territory is to lose its unique passenger and freight service operated by RMS St. Helena (which in 1995 made a once off charter cruise to Dublin and Cobh) as the island's first airport was built this year. Delays in opening the airport have led to extension of the designated Royal Mail Ship (RMS) service.

Independent management, masterplanning and digitalisation are among key trends in EU port governance highlighted by (ESPO) in its 2016 Fact-Finding Report.

M.V. Arklow Cadet the first of 10 in a new 'C' class series for Arklow Shipping Ltd was launched from Ferus Smit's Dutch yard which too built M.V. Ireland. Despite her name the cement-carrier was delivered to Norwegian joint-owners.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Page 10 of 39

About Irish Ferries

Irish Ferries, owned by the Irish Continental Group, is a a major ferry operator in Ireland, providing daily and weekly links to and from Ireland for tourism and freight travelling between Ireland and the UK and Ireland and the continent. Irish Ferries has a fleet of six ships, three of which service the busy Dublin to Holyhead route.

The ICG Chairman is John B McGuckian and the CEO is Eamon Rothwell.

Who is Your Sailor of the Year 2021?
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

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

isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2022

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton

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