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Ferry Firm Stena Line to Make 150 Redundant and Furlough 600 Staff

7th April 2020
Stena employs 2,500 people in the UK and Ireland. Above AFLOAT adds is the new E-Flexer class leadship Stena Estrid arriving in Dublin Port from Holyhead, north Wales. Stena employs 2,500 people in the UK and Ireland. Above AFLOAT adds is the new E-Flexer class leadship Stena Estrid arriving in Dublin Port from Holyhead, north Wales. Photo: Stena Line

Ferry firm Stena Line, based in Sweden, will furlough 600 employees and make 150 redundant across the UK and Ireland, it said (yesterday), as a result of the impact of the new coronavirus on the volume of traffic on its routes.

"This urgent measure is an unavoidable response to the on-going global COVID-19 crisis, that has had a hugely damaging effect on travel and transport across Europe," the privately held company said in a statement.

The company said it was experiencing a huge decline in travel bookings and freight volumes and that passenger figures were not expected recover until well into 2021.

"As a result of the significant reduction in revenue, the firm is forced to take tough decisions in order to cut costs and ensure that their vital supply lines of essential goods to the UK and Ireland are protected," it said.

Those who have been furloughed will keep 80% of their salaries, with the company making up the difference in circumstances where the Irish and UK Government schemes don't cover the full amount.

Both shore-based and sea-based employees will be impacted by the furlough decision and redundancies and consultation with unions has begun. The company has already laid off 950 staff in Scandinavia.

For more RTE News reports 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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