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Rosslare's Manager Says Europort Can Take One Fifth of Dublin Port Activity

1st June 2020
Sunny South-East: Rosslare Europort where AFLOAT adds is Stena Line's ropax Stena Horizon serving Cherbourg and newcomer rival to the Wexford port, Brittany Ferries, whose Kerry (also ropax) in March was to have launched a new service to Roscoff, however advise from Irish and France governments due to Covid-19 prevented the launch, though the 'économie' branded route is rescheduled to start this month (a fortnight from today, Monday 15 June). A third operator, Irish Ferries (likewise of Stena) also runs a route to Pembrokeshire, south Wales. Irish Ferries abandoned their services to Roscoff/Cherbourg in favour of basing W.B. Yeats on the Dublin-Holyhead/Cherbourg routes, the latter currently served by ropax Epsilon. Sunny South-East: Rosslare Europort where AFLOAT adds is Stena Line's ropax Stena Horizon serving Cherbourg and newcomer rival to the Wexford port, Brittany Ferries, whose Kerry (also ropax) in March was to have launched a new service to Roscoff, however advise from Irish and France governments due to Covid-19 prevented the launch, though the 'économie' branded route is rescheduled to start this month (a fortnight from today, Monday 15 June). A third operator, Irish Ferries (likewise of Stena) also runs a route to Pembrokeshire, south Wales. Irish Ferries abandoned their services to Roscoff/Cherbourg in favour of basing W.B. Yeats on the Dublin-Holyhead/Cherbourg routes, the latter currently served by ropax Epsilon. Photo: Rosslare Europort-twitter

The ferryport of Rosslare Europort will undergo a €30m transformation over the next five years and is the ideal port to alleviate traffic congestion and lessen pollution in Dublin, according to manager Glenn Carr.

As the New Ross Standard reports, Mr Carr said there are 100 acres of land waiting to be developed within a five kilometre radius of the port, an unrivalled landbank in the country, adding that it makes perfect sense for Dublin Port ships and shipping activity to be moved to Rosslare. Planning permission to develop a new access road and entrance has been submitted, with works due to commence this winter - and combined with major plans by the OPW to develop a customs unit at the port - Rosslare Europort is able to take over 20 per cent of activity from Dublin in the coming years.

Mr Carr said: 'Both outside Dublin Port on the M50 and inside, there is congestion. The current situation is not the norm. The norm prior to Covid saw lorries delayed outside the port and even in the port tunnel. With Brexit approaching we do believe that Rosslare has a very strong role to play as geographically it is the closest port to mainland Europe. Companies can save seven hours, (three and a half hours each way) on the Irish Sea on direct services going to Europe.'

He said the Enniscorthy Bypass has saved hauliers 25 minutes on their journey, adding that the opening of the New Ross Bypass has also strengthened the case for the port. For hauliers travelling to distribution centres along the outer M50 in Dublin, Rosslare is now a lot easier to get to. 'The time you would lose on the ship, you'd gain on the road. The New Ross Bypass provides improved connectivity to Cork, Waterford and Limerick, which are main arteries that a lot of product is moved to. We have seen that with the new Brittany Ferries [Bilbao] service, which moved here from Cork. The biggest factor [behind the move] was that the industry wanted the route in Rosslare because it was easier and quicker to get to so there is already evidence that Rosslare is a real alternative to Dublin.

Presently around 84 per cent of roll-on, roll-off shipping activity occurs in Dublin Port, the remaining 16 per cent falling to Rosslare.

For Carr, there is no other port in Ireland better suited to roll-on, roll-off. because of the better access in and out of the port.

For much more on this ferry development click here.

Afloat adds Brittany Ferries were to have launched a second new route out of Rosslare to Roscoff, but due to Covid-19 the start date has been rescheduled to this month. The inaugural sailing is in a fortnight's time, Monday 15th June.

In the meantime Kerry maintains the year-round Spanish service albeit in a freight-only mode until sailings open to passengers return on Wednesday 17th June.

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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