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New Service? - Rosslare Europort to Le Havre, France Shipping Route Could Benefit Waterford

11th October 2019
New Service? Rosslare Europort-Le Havre, France shipping route could benefit Waterford. Above: AFLOAT adds berthed is the trio of ferries that serve the Wexford ferryport on routes to Fishguard and Pembroke, Wales and Cherbourg, France. In addition there is already a route to Le Havre in the form of a 'freight'-only ro-ro vessel operated by Neptune Lines that began in 2017. New Service? Rosslare Europort-Le Havre, France shipping route could benefit Waterford. Above: AFLOAT adds berthed is the trio of ferries that serve the Wexford ferryport on routes to Fishguard and Pembroke, Wales and Cherbourg, France. In addition there is already a route to Le Havre in the form of a 'freight'-only ro-ro vessel operated by Neptune Lines that began in 2017. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

In Waterford, the Green Party has welcomed moves to open a new shipping route linking Rosslare Europort to Le Havre in France.

An Irish delegation according to WaterfordLive, met with representatives of the French government and officials from the port of Le Havre last Friday with a view connecting the two ports by sea.

Responding to the news, Cllr. Marc Ó Cathasaigh commented the route has the potential to relieve some of the pressure on Dublin while benefiting the Southeast region and to help insulate Waterford from the worst effects of a crash-out Brexit.

"Rosslare Europort is of enormous strategic significance, all the more so with the spectre of Brexit looming. We know that Dublin Port and its surrounding infrastructure is creaking at the seams, and opening additional capacity through Rosslare could allow the Southeast to become a counterweight to Dublin-centric development and help drive economic activity here in Waterford."

The Tramore-based councillor also believes that opening a route to Le Havre could unlock European funding to develop the surrounding infrastructure.

For more click here.

Afloat adds Greek operator Neptune Lines launched in 2017 a vehicle importing service based on the following rotation: Santander (Spain) – Le Havre (France) – Southampton – Portbury - (both UK) and Rosslare Europort. 

As for the last passenger/car ferry linking Le Havre (see: 500th/Irish ferry routes) this took place when French owned LD Lines began operations in November 2008 served by ropax Norman Voyager. The operation was short-lived as LD Lines withdrew and by September 2009, Norman Voyager was chartered to Irish-owned Celtic Link Ferries but serving instead Cherbourg.

The Wexford (Kilmore Quay) based ferry company would themselves only trade a few years more (see farewell sailing) following acquisition by Stena Line in 2014.

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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