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Seatruck Ferries Celebrate 10 Years of Operation in Dublin Port

23rd November 2017

#ferrynews - Freight ferry operator on the Irish Sea, Seatruck Ferries celebrate 10 years of service using Dublin Port from where the shipping company's traffic volumes have grown exponentially.

From small beginnings in October 2007, Seatruck had a single ship service using freight ferry ‘Celtic Star’. The ro-ro ship had previously ran for another operator Celtic Link Ferries on the Irish Sea. This operator no longer remains in business.

In that first year, Seatruck transported just over 3,000 units of freight from Dublin. Roll on a decade later and compare that figure to just under 21,000 units in October 2017, representing growth of well over 500%. According to IRN Freightstat, the operator are now one of the largest freight movers in the capital port.

In the busy midweek period Seatruck operate 4 daily services to Liverpool and a daily service to Heysham. Seatruck also operate on the Warrenpoint - Heysham route which commenced in 1996.

With driver shortages continuing Seatruck are expecting an ongoing switch to unaccompanied trailer movements which they specialise in with their purpose built freight only ferries.

CEO of Seatruck Alistair Eagles comments; “10 years on from the commencement of our services into Dublin port we are very much focusing on the next steps to ensure that we can continue to help our customers save money and use their equipment and drivers more efficiently. Seatruck is fully committed to our freight only model and we are planning for a continued industry switch away from the driver accompanied, short sea mode.

Our Dublin services are an extremely important part of our route network and I on behalf of everyone at Seatruck would like to personally thank all of our customers for their support”

In December, a new loading ramp will be installed in the Port of Heysham which will further enhance the operator's Irish Sea services from the UK Port, which is now directly linked to the motorway network via the new £130m M6 Link.

Seatruck are working closely with the relevant authorities in Northern Ireland on the Newry Southern Relief Road. The project will link Warrenpoint Harbour directly to the Belfast - Dublin motorway.

 

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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