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Seatruck Further Increase Capacity on Dublin-Liverpool Service

11th September 2018
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Seatruck further increase capacity on their Dublin Port (terminal above)-Liverpool service with a P class ro-ro Afloat identified as Clipper Pennant Seatruck further increase capacity on their Dublin Port (terminal above)-Liverpool service with a P class ro-ro Afloat identified as Clipper Pennant Photo: Seatruck -facebook

#FerryNews - Irish sea freight operator, Seatruck Ferries have further increased capacity on their Dublin to Liverpool service. In addition sailing frequencies on the central Irish Sea corridor route. 

The smallest vessel on the route the Clipper Ranger, has been replaced by a larger P series vessel, (Afloat identified as Clipper Pennant) offering almost twice the capacity. At the same time additional Friday sailings have been introduced meaning that Seatruck now operate 44 sailings per week on what is their busiest Irish Sea service.

The introduction of the larger Clipper Pennant is the next stage in Seatruck Ferries’ strategic development plan, with the company now operating 78 departures per week across 3 key routes on the Irish Sea.

Responding to customer feedback, departure times have also been tailored to reflect the changing needs of the Irish market. Seatruck currently move around 20% of the total Irish Sea roro freight volumes.

Driver shortages are causing many operators to reassess their traditional accompanied method. Seatruck Ferries believes in a switch to greater volumes of unaccompanied movements from ports, which reduces road mileage compared with the more traditional transit through Wales or Scotland. Trailer only shipments mean that Seatruck customers can use their drivers and equipment more efficiently.

This positive move will complement the existing Seatruck services operating from Dublin to Heysham and Warrenpoint to Heysham.

As Afloat previously covered, capacity on the Warrenpoint-Heyham route has just been increased by 30% with introduction of sisters Seatruck Performance and Seatruck Precision. 

Alistair Eagles, Chief Executive of Seatruck Ferries said: “The recent vessel changes in Warrenpoint have allowed us to cascade additional modern tonnage onto our fast-growing Dublin – Liverpool route. The P series vessel is larger, faster and will improve schedule reliability in inclement weather.

He add "We are seeing unprecedented demand for unaccompanied trailer shipments across our network and with the driver shortage worsening we see this trend continuing. By switching to unaccompanied shipments our customers can ensure that they are using their resources in the most efficient way possible. The Dublin Liverpool route is now serviced by a modern fleet of purpose-built vessels offering unrivalled service for trailer operators with 4 midweek sailings per day in each direction.”

The vessel switch follows exponential growth for Seatruck in recent years with trailer volumes rising by more than 250% since 2007.

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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