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River Lee: Second Ferry for Cork Not Economically Viable, Company Says

4th April 2019
Carrigaloe of the River Lee car-ferry service AFLOAT adds trades as Cross River Ferries connecting Glenbrook and Carrigaloe (near Cobh on Great Island). The pair of former Scottish serving Isle of Skye ferries became redundant following the completion of a fixed link with the building of a road-bridge and since 1993 the ferries have run on the Irish service involving a short 4-minute hop across the Lee. Carrigaloe of the River Lee car-ferry service AFLOAT adds trades as Cross River Ferries connecting Glenbrook and Carrigaloe (near Cobh on Great Island). The pair of former Scottish serving Isle of Skye ferries became redundant following the completion of a fixed link with the building of a road-bridge and since 1993 the ferries have run on the Irish service involving a short 4-minute hop across the Lee. Photo: Cross River Ferries -facebook

#ferries - Owners of the River Lee car ferry service in Cork harbour, the Irish Examiner reports, have told Cork County Council they don't believe it's economically viable to put on a second ferry at peak evening times.

Doyle Shipping Group (also operators of Cross River Ferries) contacted Paraic Lynch, municipal officer for the Cobh/Glanmire Municipal District Council, to tell him the news after a number of councillors petitioned the company to beef up their service from Glenbrook, on the Passage West side to Carrigaloe, on the Cobh side.

Councillors living in the Cobh area are particularly concerned about the length of time it is taking people to get across the harbour from the Glenbrook side during the evening rush-hour period.

Mr Lynch told the councillors that Doyle Shipping had contacted him to say they didn't see it as viable to operate two ferries at that time. However, he added that the company says it will continue to monitor the situation, especially when major work gets underway on the €100m upgrade of the Jack Lynch Tunnel/Dunkettle interchange later this year.

Councillors are particularly concerned about that as they believe it will drive more motorists to use the cross-river ferry to avoid delays at the northern side of the tunnel as the upgrade works get underway.

For further comments by councillors following the decision announced by the shipping group click here.

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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