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Stena Line Fast Tracks Additional Rosslare - Cherbourg Freight Ferry Amid UK Travel Confusion

21st December 2020
The freight-only Stena Foreteller will join the Stena Horizon which already operates on the Rosslare - Cherbourg route The freight-only Stena Foreteller will join the Stena Horizon which already operates on the Rosslare - Cherbourg route

The Stena Foreteller is to be redeployed on the direct route to the Continent following border closures between the UK and France.

As Afloat reported earlier, in light of recent international border closures which have seriously impacted freight flows, Stena Line has confirmed that it will bring forward the introduction of its Stena Foreteller ferry on the Rosslare-Cherbourg service to Tuesday 22nd December, ahead of its original date of 4th Jan.

The freight-only Stena Foreteller will join the Stena Horizon which already operates on the route, doubling the freight capacity as well as the frequency of sailings between Ireland and the Continent.

Stena Foreteller will provide an additional 3, 000 lane metres of freight capacity per trip and can accommodate a mix of accompanied and unaccompanied traffic with onboard facilities for up to 12 freight drivers.

Niclas Mårtensson, CEO Stena Line said: “The developments of the last few days in terms of border closures have put enormous strains on the logistics industry. Our Rosslare-Cherbourg service is the shortest direct crossing between Ireland and France, and I’m delighted to see that our operational team on the Irish Sea have been able to ‘fast-track’ the introduction of the Stena Foreteller, providing vital additional capacity in the run up to Christmas.”

“We have developed a reputation for keeping vital supply lines open for food and medical supplies throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and once more we have shown our flexibility and expertise in being able to react swiftly to market demands. We are currently experiencing huge demand for our direct services to the Continent with our North Sea vessels (ex Killingholme and Harwich) being oversubscribed by a multiple of three.”

“From tomorrow (18:00 hrs ex Rosslare) we will provide 12 weekly crossings connecting Rosslare and Cherbourg and up to 240 sailings per week throughout the Irish Sea region, offering transport organisations and their customers the flexibility, availability and reliability they require at this time.”Glenn Carr, General Manager, Rosslare Europort said: “This is obviously a critical time for Irish industry, and as Port Authority, we are determined, working in partnership with Stena Line, to offer alternatives to those whose supply chains are impacted by the newly introduced restrictions to the landbridge. We welcome Stena Line’s response in quickly arranging additional capacity on the Rosslare Europort to Cherbourg route, and we will continue our efforts to respond effectively as COVID-19 measures impact Irish business.”

Stena Line is the largest ferry operator on the Irish Sea, with the biggest fleet offering the widest choice of routes including, combined passenger and freight services from Belfast to Cairnryan, Heysham and Liverpool, Dublin to Holyhead, Rosslare to Fishguard and the direct service from Rosslare to Cherbourg.

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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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