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New Freight Route As CLdN to Introduce Santander, Dublin, Liverpool Service

10th June 2020
New freight ro-ro service is to link Dublin Port (above) on calls to Liverpool, UK and Santander in northern Spain. Also above CLdN's con-ro vessel Mazarine was among vessels that launched the more established routes from Dublin-Belgium/The Netherlands in 2009. See Ship's Monthly (Feb) 2010. AFLOAT also adds the linkspan-berth No.2 at Alexandra Basin (East) is the same site of one of the port's original linkspans built for ro-ro traffic incl. passenger car ferries introduced in the late 1960's, though it was the nearby ferryport behind where all the action really began by B+I Line serving such services linking Liverpool. In addition to Holyhead but not open until 1982. In more recent times the Irish port demolished the old ro-ro linkspan and hydraulic tower with the above infrastructure. New freight ro-ro service is to link Dublin Port (above) on calls to Liverpool, UK and Santander in northern Spain. Also above CLdN's con-ro vessel Mazarine was among vessels that launched the more established routes from Dublin-Belgium/The Netherlands in 2009. See Ship's Monthly (Feb) 2010. AFLOAT also adds the linkspan-berth No.2 at Alexandra Basin (East) is the same site of one of the port's original linkspans built for ro-ro traffic incl. passenger car ferries introduced in the late 1960's, though it was the nearby ferryport behind where all the action really began by B+I Line serving such services linking Liverpool. In addition to Holyhead but not open until 1982. In more recent times the Irish port demolished the old ro-ro linkspan and hydraulic tower with the above infrastructure. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

Afloat can reveal that a new freight-ferry route calling to Dublin Port is to be introduced by CLdN ro-ro SA as part of their expansion of existing network which is to involve linking Spain via the UK, writes Jehan Ashmore.

According to CLdN, the new service will provide one sailing per week from Santander to Liverpool, followed by calling to Dublin. The operator already has routes linking the Irish capital connecting Zeebrugge and Rotterdam. 

This is the first pure ro-ro service of what the operator describe as a triangular trade service to Santander that is scheduled to start next week.

Also this is the first service for CLdN to call to a west UK port as otherwise CLdN and their Colbefret operations use several ports in south-east England also connecting mainland Europe.

The new service connecting Spain directly to the UK and Ireland is for un-accompanied trailers, containers, vehicles and project cargo.

In addition the service according to the land-locked private operator based in Luxembourg, will offer a very green and efficient solution to the alternatives. This will cut down on excessive road and sea miles for the trailer business especially. This is to be achieved by using the shortest, most direct route and avoiding channel and road trips.

The news follows CLdN other new Belgium-Port of Cork ro-ro route launched in late April. On that occasion Afloat reported the arrival from Zeebrugge of Mesuline to Cork Harbour with the maiden sailing on the service undertaken by the 1999 built freighter.

By coincidence, Mesuline was also used to inaugurate the Dublin-Zeebrugge-Rotterdam route.

It is more than a decade ago when CLdN made a presence in Dublin Port with the inauguration of theses routes to Belgium and the Netherlands. This following the withdrawal of their services when based out of Rosslare Europort.

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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