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DFDS Seaways Scottish Linked In Charter of Freight-Ferry to P&O Ferries

22nd March 2015
DFDS Seaways Scottish Linked In Charter of Freight-Ferry to P&O Ferries

#P&Oferries – Lysblink Seaways under repair in Greenock, Scotland as previously reported on Afloat, is where by coincidence DFDS Seaways operate a container service to Liverpool and from where they have chartered a freight-ferry to P&O Ferries, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Firstly is the charter by DFDS Logistics Rederi AS of Lysblink Seaways to Sea-Cargo based in Bergen.

The starboard side-loading paper products carrier was due to have called to Skogn, in Norway last month from Belfast but instead the 129m long vessel went aground on the west Scottish coast.

She was re-floated and towed to the Clyde where she entered Garvel Clyde's James Watt Dock at Inchgreen.

While on the Irish Sea, the freight-only Anglia Seaways charter from DFDS to serve P&O Ferries Dublin-Liverpool route had only begun earlier this week having called to Merseyside last weekend from The Netherlands.

Anglia Seaways is covering the roster of P&O's ro-pax Norbank which is in dry dock at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead. Also maintaining the Ireland-England central Irish Sea route is sister Norbay and larger ro-pax European Endeavour which also carries motorist cars and freight vehicles.

The Danish flagged 120-trailer Anglia Seaways is otherwise understood to normally operate on the North Sea, running Rotterdam-Immingham on the UK's east coast. It is from Anglia where she originally began a career with Norfolkline (a Maersk subsidiary) but running from Felixstowe firstly as the Maersk Anglia.

It's almost full circle with Anglia Seaways presence on the Irish Sea, as she has served on several routes, the most recent a charter to Seatruck Ferries on the Warrenpoint-Heysham route until last year.

More apt was the role she played for DFDS Seaways when the Danish shipping giant's acquisition of Norfolkline Irish Sea operations in 2010.

The involved a network of routes that would be later sold to Stena Line, except for the Dublin-Birkenhead service in which Anglia Seaways served until January 2011.

This marked the final trace of the short-lived DFDS freight and 'passenger' operations that Stena would eventually swallow up to further consolidate as the dominant player on the Irish Sea.

For a more in-depth coverage of this period in the Irish Sea ferry industry (including a photo of Anglia Seaways) while still sporting the distinctive pale blue corporate Maersk hull colour. 

Also seen at Dublin Port was the ro-pax Liverpool Seaways, which would head off for a career with DFDS on the Baltic Sea.

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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