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A Ferry Festive Season: Capacity Added On Core Irish Sea Route

19th December 2016
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Dublin Port: Gateway to Ireland and the core Irish Sea route of Holyhead-Dublin in which added capacity have been introduced as thousands of extra passengers are expected over the festive season. Dublin Port: Gateway to Ireland and the core Irish Sea route of Holyhead-Dublin in which added capacity have been introduced as thousands of extra passengers are expected over the festive season. Photo: DPC

#FerryFestive – In this week of Christmas Day, ferries on the Irish Sea are as expected to transport thousands of extra passengers as they prepare to embark making travel plans, writes Jehan Ashmore.

For information on sailings dates and schedules visit the ferry operator websites. 

WALES-IRELAND (CENTRAL CORRIDOR)

Holyhead-Dublin Port (Irish Ferries)

Irish Ferries have recently transferred the 1,458-passenger Oscar Wilde ferry on to the premier central corridor Wales-Ireland route of Holyhead-Dublin. The cruiseferry having ended Ireland-France duties of Rosslare-Cherbourg sailings for 2016.

Oscar Wilde will assist the influx of inbound traffic bound for Ireland on the Holyhead-Dublin route. In addition traffic demand will also be taken by regular ferries Ulysses, Epsilon and fast-craft Dublin Swift.

Holyhead-Dublin Port (Stena Line)

Also operating on this key Wales-Ireland route is Stena Line which will too be kept busy on the Holyhead-Dublin Port. The route is run by route partners Stena Adventurer and relative newcomer Stena Superfast X which made a debut in 2015. 

Liverpool-Dublin (P&O Ferries)

The longer central corridor route linking Liverpool to Dublin are served by P&O Ferries trio, sisters Norbank and Norbay along with European Endeavour.

Noting P&O Ferries on the Mersey-Liffey service do ‘not’ accommodate ‘foot’ passengers.

Liverpool-Dublin (Seatruck Ferries)

Also operating this route Seatruck which is a dedicated freight operator, have a limited service available for passengers (accompanied by motorhomes and cars). In addition Seatruck operate Heysham-Dublin again providing a motorists-only service.

WALES-IRELAND (SOUTHERN CORRIDOR)

Fishguard-Rosslare (Stena Line)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

On the St. Georges Channel crossing, Stena's Fishguard-Rosslare route is operated by Stena Europe.

Pembroke-Rosslare (Irish Ferries)

Also on the Wales-Ireland link, Irish Ferries have Isle of Inishmore running Pembroke-Rosslare.

UK- N.IRELAND (NORTH CHANNEL / IRISH SEA)

For information on UK-Northern Ireland operators (except Irish Ferries) visit their respective websites.

ISLE OF MAN -IRELAND 

Douglas-Dublin (IOM Steam-Packet)

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Isle of Man Steam-Packet’s future plans and referred special festive seasonal Douglas-Dublin sailings, which since coverage however at this stage only apply to post Christmas Day sailings.

On Boxing Day there is a Douglas-Dublin sailing which docks in the Irish capital in the early hours of 27 December. A return leg to the Isle of Man departs the same day at 01.00hrs.

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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