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LD Lines Finally Resumes Ireland-Spain Service via France

20th June 2014
Norman_Atlantic_ferry_rosslare
LD Lines ro-pax Norman Atlantic returns to service on the Ireland-Spain via France landbridge routes. She is seen on her first inbound sailing from St. Nazaire during her arrival yesterday evening to Rosslare Europort. Photo: Jehan Ashmore
LD Lines Finally Resumes Ireland-Spain Service via France

#IrelandSpainFerry –Tonight, LD Lines finally resume their Ireland-Spain route via western France served by ro-pax Norman Atlantic, writes Jehan Ashmore

As previously reported, LD Lines announcement of the route returning to service follows an absence of more than three months due initially to dry-docking and for other un-disclosed reasons.

In January the French operator started the first ferry connection between Ireland and Spain with a stopover en route call at St.Nazaire before completing the journey to Gijón in the northern region of Asturias.

The once weekly 22-hour service calls to Rosslare on Thursdays and departs from the Wexford port on Fridays.

Since her arrival to Rosslare Eurport last evening, the ro-pax Norman Atlantic has remained in port for almost a full day, as she departs this evening at 9pm.

She is scheduled to arrive tomorrow at St. Nazaire on at 1900. From the mid-west Atlantic French port she heads for Gijón with an arrival time on Sundays at 1300.

Northbound the vessel departs Gijón on Tuesdays at 2200 and St. Nazaire at 2359 on Wednesdays before arriving back in Rosslare at 21.45 on Thursdays.

The 550-passenger Norman Atlantic caters for tourist traffic and can accommodate both regular freight types and most abnormal loads benefitting hauliers.

Her sister Norman Astuarias operates additional sailings yet only on the French-Spanish link.

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

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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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