Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Arrow Heads Away From Larne Winter Lay-Up for North Sea Charter

3rd March 2017

#ArrowAway - Afloat has tracked down relief freight ro-ro Arrow which had been wintering in the Port of Larne but is currently operating UK-Dutch routes having been sub-chartered by the Isle of Man Steam Packet, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Arrow is owned by Seatruck Ferries but since 2014 has been on long-term charter to the Manx operator. This arrangement is to provide back-up support to ropax Ben-My-Chree when required. As for fast-ferry Manannan see related Larne coverage.

Stena Line have chartered the Arrow for services on the North Sea during dry-docking period of one of their largest UK serving ships. The giant 63,600 tonnes cruiseferry Stena Hollandica normally operates Harwich-Hoek van Holland route but is receiving work in Rotterdam's Schiedam district.

The southern North Sea route is also served by sister, Stena Britannica which can accommodate 1,200 passengers.

In comparison to the Stena Hollandica which can take 300 trucks, Stena announced the charter of a ‘small’ replacement vessel, in which Afloat can confirm is Arrow with its 84 truck capacity. Asides Harwich-Hook van Holland, Stena operates the following freight only North Sea routes of Killingholme-Hoek van Holland and Killingholme-Rotterdam (Europoort).

Stena added that on certain sailings (by Arrow) this may cause some constraints in terms of lane-meters and drivers capacity. As previously covered on Afloat, Stena last Autumn provided additional freight capacity, giving Irish hauliers more options on the ‘Landbridge’ routes to the Netherlands. This saw the Caroline Russ chartered to the operator and join Stena Scotia, a former Irish Sea freight-ferry.

Stena Scotia was introduced on the route the previous Autumn of 2014 as a complement to a pair of much larger ro-ro freighters, Stena Transit and Stena Transporter on the Hoek van Holland – Killingholme route.

Killingholme, Lincolnshire is a port located on the Humber estuary, further north of Harwich. Likewise of the Essex port this is a busy North Sea freight hub. On the opposite side of the estuary is Hull, again another major port but with passengers / freight services operated by P&O Ferries serving the Netherlands and Belgium.

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

Email The Author

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. 

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

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!

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating