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LD Lines Launch First Ever Ireland-France-Spain Ferry Service

8th January 2014
LD Lines Launch First Ever Ireland-France-Spain Ferry Service

#IrelandSpainAs previously reported on Afloat.ie, LD Lines launches a new passenger and freight ferry service linking Rosslare Europort in Ireland, the France west coast port of St.Nazaire and the northern Spanish port of Gijón.

Click for LD lines contact details.

The new link sees the ro-pax ferry Scintu (2006/26,904grt) make her debut at midnight tonight with an inward bound sailing to Rosslare from St. Nazaire as part of the first ever ferry service linking Ireland, western France and northern Spain.

The new route is to forge new trading links combined with cost-saving advantages and environmental benefits for passengers and hauliers.

For the tourist market the link to Gijón makes destinations in Spain and Portugal easier than ever to drive to and for the freight market, by passing the UK landbridge, quicker access to and from the Continental mainland.

In addition the France West coast port of St.Nazaire is ideally located for popular French holiday locations such as Brittany, La Baule, La Rochelle and Bordeaux as well as providing easy accessibility for freight traffic between mainland Europe and now with the new service, Ireland.

Welcoming the new service, John Lynch, General Manager Rosslare Europort, said,"This new service, the first Ro Ro connection between Ireland, France and the Iberian peninsula, will open up new opportunities for trade between Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal, with the potential for inbound tourism to Ireland also benefiting significantly."

The new service will depart Rosslare on Fridays at 21:00 ; depart St.Nazaire to Gijón on Saturdays at 22:00 ; return from Gijón on Tuesdays at 22:00 ; depart St.Nazaire to Rosslare on Wednesdays at 23:59 with an arrival time in Rosslare on Thursdays at 21:15.

This represents a major extension of LD Lines' "Motorway of the Seas" Atlantic network, coinciding with other new services as previously reported, between Poole and Santander, which began in November 2013. A Poole – Gijón is to start in early January and the existing France – Spain route linking St.Nazaire and Gijón, which was introduced in 2010.

Christophe Santoni, CEO of LD Lines commented, "The new service will offer a value-for-money direct route between Ireland, France and Spain and in addition to making European destinations more accessible, will give the tourism and freight markets greater choice."

LD Lines' new network of ferry services will be operated by two sister ships Norman Asturias and Scintu. The modern Ro Ro and passenger vessels, built in 2008/2009 by the Visentini Italian shipyard, each have capacity for up to 500 passengers, 200 cars and 110 freight vehicles or 150 trailers. On board facilities include 120 cabins, bar, restaurant, shop and a full range of passenger entertainment is being developed and introduced in the months ahead.

Fares for the Rosslare – Gijón service start from €579 for a car and two passengers including cabin.

Rosslare – St.Nazaire fares start from €199 for a car and two passengers or €249 for a car and two passengers including cabin, noting this introductory fare on the Ireland-France route is limited to the first 200 car passenger bookings.

 

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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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. 

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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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