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Further Expansion By Brittany Ferries, Increases Rosslare's European Services to 32 Weekly

2nd February 2021
Expansion by Brittany Ferries is to see new routes and sailings to France (starting this week AFLOAT adds by Armorique above), bringing more freight options for hauliers connecting to mainland Europe. Freight volumes through the port were up almost 500% in January 2021 compared to last year. The news follows the French operators announcement to also boost operations with a new route and crossings out of Cork. Expansion by Brittany Ferries is to see new routes and sailings to France (starting this week AFLOAT adds by Armorique above), bringing more freight options for hauliers connecting to mainland Europe. Freight volumes through the port were up almost 500% in January 2021 compared to last year. The news follows the French operators announcement to also boost operations with a new route and crossings out of Cork. Credit: Brittany Ferries

The Government's Operational Update review on trade a month after the post-Brexit transition ended, Afloat adds narrowly missed inclusion as yet another ferry development arose today, as Brittany Ferries announced new 'freight' routes increasing capacity directly to mainland Europe.

Glenn Carr, General Manager of Rosslare Europort welcomed the announcement by Brittany Ferries of a further weekly service each between the Co. Wexford port and St Malo and Roscoff, in Brittany, France.

As also reported today, the revived Roscoff route resumes service this Thursday, 4th February (this follows, Afloat adds the route's debut last year albeit also available for passengers).

The new services combined bring to 32 – sixteen in each direction – the number of weekly direct services across all shipping operators between Rosslare Europort and the European continent, establishing Rosslare as Ireland’s number one port for direct European services.

The first month of trading in 2021 has seen sensational results at Rosslare Europort. Despite the challenges of Covid 19 and the current difficulties with the UK post Brexit, overall Freight traffic at the port is 45% ahead when compared to the same period last year.

While UK traffic is down 49% for January, European Freight is up an incredible 446% year on year with unprecedented demand for the new direct services operating from Rosslare Europort to mainland Europe.

Commenting on the first month of trading for 2021, General Manager, Glenn Carr stated “We are absolutely delighted with how the market has reacted and supported our direct services from Rosslare to Europe, and welcome Brittany Ferries further commitment to the needs of Irish industry with this new service announced today.

The demand has been phenomenal for the new and expanded services from all of our operators, and these results prove the strategic importance and potential of the port to our customers, industry and our economy. Through the significant challenges with Covid and Brexit, great credit must go to all colleagues working at the port and our shipping lines who have provided exceptional frequency and capacity on the now 32 services a week between Rosslare and Europe. We will continue to work with shipping lines and Irish industry in identifying further opportunities to meet market demand, and ensure that we build on the work to-date at the port to maximise the role of Rosslare Europort for both the South-East and wider economy of Ireland.

These are very exciting times at Rosslare Europort with the increase in business, commencement of our €35 million Masterplan and our recent proposal to Government for the port to be further developed as the Off-Shore Wind Energy Hub for the country and I look forward to working with all stakeholders in achieving this.”

The new Brittany Ferries service is the latest boost in 2021 to direct services between Rosslare Europort and the Continent.

So far, we have seen:

  • New six-times weekly DFDS Rosslare Europort to Dunkirk service commence
  • Expansion of Stena Line Rosslare Europort to Cherbourg services from three services each way weekly to six services each way weekly
  • Stena Line capacity further increased, with the new Stena Embla redeployed to the Rosslare to Cherbourg route since Thursday 14th January
  • Brittany Ferries began its weekly each way service between Rosslare Europort and Cherbourg two months ahead of schedule, in addition to the operators ongoing twice weekly each way service between Rosslare and Bilbao.
  • In addition as Afloat earlier reported, Brittany Ferries is to start a new weekly Rosslare to St Malo route 
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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