Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Traffic Numbers for Irish Ferries’ Passengers Slump 60% due to Covid-19 Restrictions

11th June 2020
Irish Ferries cruiseferry W.B. Yeats captured by AFLOAT entering Dublin Bay during its maiden delivery voyage in 2018, but considerably later than scheduled from German shipbuilder FSG. Owners of the ferry operator, ICG has cancelled an order for a second vessel with the same German shipyard which would of been the World's largest ferry based from a version of W.B. Yeats. AFLOAT reported yesterday, W.B. Yeats which due to Covid19 was delayed by three months in resuming Dublin-Cherbourg route as the services 'cruiseferry' operated ship has completed its first round-trip this summer by arrival into Dublin Port this morning. Irish Ferries cruiseferry W.B. Yeats captured by AFLOAT entering Dublin Bay during its maiden delivery voyage in 2018, but considerably later than scheduled from German shipbuilder FSG. Owners of the ferry operator, ICG has cancelled an order for a second vessel with the same German shipyard which would of been the World's largest ferry based from a version of W.B. Yeats. AFLOAT reported yesterday, W.B. Yeats which due to Covid19 was delayed by three months in resuming Dublin-Cherbourg route as the services 'cruiseferry' operated ship has completed its first round-trip this summer by arrival into Dublin Port this morning. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

Ferry operator, Irish Continental Group (ICG) has said its division, Irish Ferries experience passenger numbers slump by 60 per cent so far this year due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

The company, according to The Irish Times, also said in a trading statement that it has cancelled an order with shipmaker Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) to build a new vessel, after the German company filed for protection from its creditors in April.

ICG, led by chief executive Eamonn Rothwell, said that it has written to the Government arguing that a requirement that people travelling to the State should self-isolate for 14 days is not consistent in the Common Travel Area with the UK government’s position that no such measures be taken by passengers travelling from the Republic to Britain.

“There is nothing to stop people from Britain visiting Ireland by transiting via Northern Ireland without the requirement to self-isolate, which is clearly anomalous,” ICG said.

While ICG said that its freight business has remained relatively robust during the coronavirus pandemic, it is currently unable to estimate the full-year financial impact of the fall-off in passenger revenue. “The severity of this reduction in passenger revenue is dependent on the duration and nature of travel restrictions, particularly over the peak summer season,” it said.

Roll-on, roll-off freight volumes have fallen 4 per cent in the year to June 6th, while container volumes have dropped 13 per cent.

For more notably the cancellation to order a second newbuild cruiseferry click here.

Afloat adds the €165.2m newbuild for the Dublin-Holyhead route was based from the same design of W.B. Yeats of 54,975 gross tonnage (165 lorries) but larger at 67,300grt (330 lorries). This would enable the world's largest ferry with this level of freight capacity operate on the core Irish Sea route exclusively. 

Due to Covid-19, the W.B Yeats which Afloat reported yesterday had only resumed service on the Dublin-Cherbourg route in its role as the summer-operated cruiseferry. On Tuesday the cruiseferry began on the first round trip which was completed with an arrival to Dublin Port this morning. 

Prior to the return of W.B Yeats on the year-round operated route (by ropax Epsilon) to mainland Europe, W.B. Yeats as scheduled served the Dublin-Holyhead route with sailings over the winter months. Originally the cruiseferry was expected to re-enter the French route three months ago.  

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

Email The Author

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. 

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

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!

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2020

Wave button for Afloat new dates

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

quantum sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating