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Port of Cork Set for Increased Ferry Frequency to France (Plus in 2021 New Route from Rosslare)

24th July 2020
Solent Sisters: Brittany Ferries no-frillls (économie) branded ropax Connemara AFLOAT adds served the former Cork-Santander service is to return (or sister Etretat?) to Irish waters when repositioned out of Rosslare Europort in 2021. Following the closure of this Ireland-Spain route the 'Visentini' built ropax was transferred onto the operator's Portsmouth-Santander route and since January 2020 also out of the UK English Channel port (above arriving on the Solent) from the Le Havre link to France. Solent Sisters: Brittany Ferries no-frillls (économie) branded ropax Connemara AFLOAT adds served the former Cork-Santander service is to return (or sister Etretat?) to Irish waters when repositioned out of Rosslare Europort in 2021. Following the closure of this Ireland-Spain route the 'Visentini' built ropax was transferred onto the operator's Portsmouth-Santander route and since January 2020 also out of the UK English Channel port (above arriving on the Solent) from the Le Havre link to France. Photo: Brittany Ferries -retweeted

Ferry operator Brittany Ferries, writes EchoLive, has announced plans to increase services out of both Cork and Rosslare in 2021, despite ongoing uncertainty amid Covid-19.

The Port of Cork will see as Afloat on Saturday reported a new midweek sailing from Cork to Roscoff in addition to the weekend service already in place.

The Armorique vessel will be used for the sailings, which is new to Ireland (albeit see relief duties last year)

The Pont-Aven, one of the company’s (which is the flagship) ferries, will continue to serve the main Cork to Roscoff (seasonal) sailings at the weekend.

This route serves primarily tourists, with an approximate 50-50 split between French and Irish holidaymakers.

The company said: “It will open more choice for those seeking a shorter break in either Ireland or France, with options to leave and return with Brittany Ferries, either mid-week or at the weekend.”

For more plus announcement of a new Rosslare-Cherbourg route also in 2021, click here.

AFLOAT adds Brittany Ferries is to reintroduce ropax Connemara (following this year's closure of Cork-Santander service) back to Irish waters but running out of Rosslare. Afloat however also consulted the operator's website and noted that another 'Visentini' built ropax Etretat (ex. Norman Voyager of former Celtic Link Ferries) is scheduled to operate the 'économie' branded route from November. (It should be noted the schedule was updated today). 

Connemara originally launched the Cork-Spain route in 2018 before replaced by yet another Visentini built ropax the Kerry.

Currently, Kerry operates the relocated Ireland-Spain service of Rosslare-Bilbao. In addition to serving Brittany Ferries other second new route out of the Wexford ferryport, the seasonal service to Roscoff which was due to open in March but was delayed due to the initial impact of Covid-19 and related travel restrictions.

Afloat also consulted the Rosslare-Roscoff sailings scheduled for this season up to October (but not listed for 2021). So could it appear the overcapacity by Brittany Ferries themselves be at the expense? of yesterday's official announcement of their newest route of Rosslare-Cherbourg (also seasonal). 

As passenger reservations currently available for services up to the end of October (2021) aply to the following routes: Rosslare – Bilbao, Cork – Roscoff and the aformentioned Rosslare – Cherbourg route but excludes any reference to the Wexford-Brittany link. 

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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