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Irish Ferries 'Epsilon' Commences Weekly Dublin to Cherbourg Service on Saturday

16th January 2014
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Irish Ferries 'Epsilon' Commences Weekly Dublin to Cherbourg Service on Saturday

#ferry – This weekend (Saturday, 18th January 2014), Irish Ferries will inaugurate its new direct weekend car ferry service between Dublin and the French port of Cherbourg. As previously reported, the new 19-hours service will be operated by the passenger car and freight ferry vessel Epsilon which the company acquired recently under a charter arrangement. Sailings will depart from the Ferryport terminal in Dublin at 15.30 hrs on Saturday and will arrive in Cherbourg at 11.30hrs on Sunday morning. It will return to Dublin later that day, departing Cherbourg at 17.00hrs arriving back in Ireland on Monday morning.

Third Route Option
The introduction of the new Dublin to Cherbourg service gives holidaymakers travelling into and out of Ireland a third route option, augmenting, as it does, the company's services from Rosslare to Cherbourg and Rosslare to Roscoff. Timed to arrive in Cherbourg early enough to facilitate easy onward travel to campsites and holiday centres throughout France, the new service is expected to prove popular with families and hauliers alike.

On board Epsilon, the once-weekly, year round service will offer a more limited range of cabins and passenger attractions when compared with those on board the company's cruise ferry Oscar Wilde which will continue to service routes from Rosslare to Cherbourg and Roscoff as before.

Bringing access to European motorways into the heart of Dublin city, the new service will extend the appeal of a motoring holiday in France to an even wider market. For those living in the northern half of the country, it eliminates driving to Rosslare and cuts the motoring time and cost involved.

MV Epsilon
Built in 2011, the Epsilon has capacity for 500 passengers. Modest facilities on board include a bar, cafeteria, self-service restaurant, 68 two and four berth cabins all with TV, free wi-fi service and 2,860 lane metres of vehicle deck parking space. Commenting Irish Ferries head of passenger sales, Dermot Merrigan said 'our new Dublin to Cherbourg direct service will appeal to those living within and beyond our capital city. Fast access straight through the city or from the Dublin Port Tunnel ensures that our new Ireland – France service will be more accessible to all.'

Fares and offers for this new Dublin to Cherbourg service can be viewed on the Irish Ferries website www.irishferries.com . When not operating on the Dublin to Cherbourg service, Epsilon will sail between Dublin and Holyhead increasing Irish Ferries services on the route to a maximum of twelve sailings each day.

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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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