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Irish Media Vote Stena Line Best Ferry Company

4th June 2019
Travel Media Awards: Stena Line's Diane Poole (second from left) and Jill Kelleher (second from right) receive the Best Ferry Company award from Fran Lambert, Atout France, and event hosts Alex Gibson and Ed Finn. The awards are the only ones to be voted for by travel media across Ireland. Travel Media Awards: Stena Line's Diane Poole (second from left) and Jill Kelleher (second from right) receive the Best Ferry Company award from Fran Lambert, Atout France, and event hosts Alex Gibson and Ed Finn. The awards are the only ones to be voted for by travel media across Ireland. Photo: Stena Line

At the 2019 Travel Media Awards, travel writers, bloggers and influencers from all over Ireland have voted Stena Line Best Ferry Company for the seventh year in succession.

More than 200 guests gathered at the Travel Media Awards event which was held in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin. They are the only awards that call on members of the media to vote for their favourite travel companies.

Now in their ninth year, the awards comprise of 26 categories which are voted for by a wide cross section of media in Ireland, independently audited and managed by Technological University Dublin (TUD).

Diane Poole OBE, Stena Line’s Travel Commercial Manager, Irish Sea South, was thrilled to pick up the award on behalf of Ireland’s market leading ferry company.

“This award is very special to us as it is voted for by travel media across Ireland, who play such an important role in communicating what the travel industry has to offer Irish holidaymakers,” said Diane.

“To know that media have travelled with us, sampled our service and hold us in such high regard is very pleasing and this award is a fantastic independent endorsement of the Stena Line product, the quality of our service and our facilities on-board.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the journalists, bloggers and influencers who voted for us – and also pay tribute to our amazing employees who go the extra mile every day to make sure that our customers have the best possible travel experience.

“At Stena Line, we never stand still and are always looking at ways to improve our service for travel and freight customers – which is reflected by continued investment in our routes and fleet. In this respect, we’re all looking forward to welcoming three new E-Flexer ships on our Irish Sea routes over the next couple of years, starting with the Stena Estrid which is on schedule to enter service on our Dublin to Holyhead route in early 2020,” concluded Diane.

The three new E-Flexer vessels, currently under construction in China, represent a significant multi-million pound investment by Stena Line in the Irish Sea region.

The Stena Estrid will be first to arrive on the Dublin to Holyhead route early next year, followed by the Stena Edda on the Belfast to Liverpool route in spring 2020. The third ship will also be introduced on the Belfast to Liverpool route in 2021.

All three vessels will be larger than today’s standard RoPax vessels at 215 meters long with a freight capacity of 3,100 lane meters and the space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers.

The company is the largest ferry operator on the Irish Sea, with routes as mentioned above between Ireland and Britain and also Belfast to Heysham, Belfast to Cairnryan and Rosslare to Fishguard.

In addition they are the only operator to offer a direct service from Rosslare to Cherbourg with three return crossings a week on the Ireland-France route.

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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