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Isle of Man Steam Packet Experience 41% Increase on Bookings for TT Races

28th May 2014
Isle of Man Steam Packet Experience 41% Increase on Bookings for TT Races

#TTracesFerry- The UK Bank Holiday last Monday, was the first day that the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company accepted bookings for the TT Races (in 2015) and where a substantial increase in traffic was booked compared with last year.

According to the ferry operator, almost 7,000 passengers booked to travel in just 10 hours. The timeframe involved reservations been made from 8.30am and by close of business at 6.30pm, more than 2,500 bookings had been completed.

This level of bookings for the 2015 event equated to an increase of more than 41% compared with the first day of TT bookings in 2013. This year's TT Races are already underway as the fortnight event continues to 6 June.

Initial figures show 6,957 passengers booked for the 2015 TT when reservations opened, compared with 4,314 last year. The number of motorcycles booked increased to 3,452, from 1,966, and the number of other vehicles, including cars and vans, increased from 647 in 2013 to 935 this year.

Almost 1,500 reservations were made by phone or in person, with more than 1,000 made through www.steam-packet.com

Next Saturday, as part of Afloat.ie's dedicated Ferry News section, a new Ferry Profile and interview feature will focus on Captain Allan Albiston, master of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co's ro-pax Ben-My-Chree (1998/12,747grt).

The vessel recently returned to service fresh from a £1.6m overhaul and refurbishment of passenger facilities and crew accommodation.

Her Manx name when translated means 'Girl of My Heart' has been the workhorse for the company for more than 15 years. She operates the main link to the mainland between Douglas and Heysham.

In addition Ben-My-Chree occasionally operates on the seasonal-only operated Dublin-Douglas route and during the winter months to Birkenhead.

 

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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