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Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland

#ferries - A Breton farmer and boss of Brittany Ferries Jean-Marc Roué has recently been re-elected president of Armateurs de France, the French equivalent of the UK Chamber of Shipping, writes Jehan Ashmore.

This afternoon the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May is to make a plea at an EU emergency summit in Brussels, by proposing to all 27 leaders to delay Brexit with an extension date of 30th June.  

The ferry operator Armement Bretagne-Angleterre-Irelande, or B.A.I. officially began sailing on 2 January 1973, just a day after Britain joined the Common Market of the European Economic Community (EEC) a predecessor of the EU.

B.A.I. which trades as Brittany Ferries, was founded by Alex Gourvennec who saw this chance to end the geographical isolation of Brittany by exporting vegetables to the UK marketplace.

A ro-ro freighter was purchased and renamed Kerisnel, a small Breton village made famous for its cauliflowers. The first sailing took place from Roscoff to Plymouth, Cornwall. 

To this day, farmers in the most western region of France remain the company's main shareholders.

Click here for related story of the UK Government's contract announced in December last year with the ferry operator to ease potential problems in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Published in Ferry

#ferries - Brittany Ferries Cork-Roscoff cruise-ferry Pont-Aven began today its first sailing in 2019 on the seasonal route and will save energy and reduce fuel consumption thanks to the installation of two innovative devices on the ship's propellers.

Wärtsilä‘s EnergoProfin system is a small sub-prop, which is attached to the main propeller helmet, helping improve propulsion in water. Two of these devices were installed during the ship’s dry dock in December 2018. As a consequence fuel consumption and emissions have been cut by around 2% on every crossing.

This project is a small – but significant – step and it comes as part of a range of studies initiated through Brittany Ferries’ Research and Development program. But, as Vincent Coquen, Head of R&D, Energy and Environment for the company, explains, it is not just a question of developing practical and technical solutions for today such as the propellers on Pont-Aven.

“Sustainable development means looking to the future and studying innovative projects and technologies that could be used in either the short or longer term,” he said.

For the past two years, Brittany Ferries has partnered with CEA Tech in France. Several projects are underway, including the development of a long-range broadband link that would use land-based transmitters to obviate the use of satellite-at-sea. A second study focuses on hybrid energy solutions for Cap Finistère, Brittany Ferries cruise-ferry that sails from the UK to Spain. The last is exploring the long-term implementation of fuel cells for powering certain of the ship's on-board systems.

Brittany Ferries is also looking at the potential for wind energy. Flettner rotors, traction wings, or modern sails are at different stages of development, but could significantly reduce ship fuel consumption and therefore emissions.

“Of course, we must be cautious, checking the feasibility of integrating these technologies on board our ships, in terms of safety, reliability and profitability,” added Vincent Coquen. “But I am convinced that they will have a significant role in the equation that ship-owners must solve to achieve the zero emissions ship.”

Published in Ferry

#ferries - In an announcement today Brittany Ferries has said it is to charter a third brand new cruise-ferry to serve its long-haul routes. 

The newbuild to be powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas), will be built at the AVIC Weihai Shipyard in China and is due to join Brittany Ferries’ network in 2023.​ 

The news follows trading results for 2018 which includes Cork-Roscoff which saw an increase in both passengers and freight compared to last year.

As yet the unnamed ship will be chartered from Stena RoRo and will be built to the Swedish shipowner’s E-Flexer design. Its arrival will bring to three the number of E-Flexer class ships in Brittany Ferries’ fleet following the arrival of Galicia in 2021 and Salamanca in 2022.

The operator is also constructing another new ship, Honfleur, at the FSG shipyard in Flensburg Germany, for delivery expected in late 2019 (see related story on delay)

The charter agreement, which includes an option to purchase, represents the next step in a fleet renewal and investment programme worth around €550m. It will offer increased capacity and comfort for customers as well as employment of French seafarers.

Brittany Ferries is proud to be the largest employer of French seafarers and is committed to fleet renewal and a more sustainable future.

Like Salamanca and Honfleur, the new ship will be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). It’s a fuel which presents major environmental advantages over conventional maritime fuels, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by around 20% and cutting sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate emissions to almost zero.

Brittany Ferries’ CEO Christophe Mathieu comments: “We’re delighted to be adding another E-Flexer class cruise-ferry to our fleet. These are environmentally-friendly, capacious and comfortable ships which perfectly suit to our long-haul services.

“The charter will continue our fleet renewal plans, marking the fourth brand new ship in five years. It signals our confidence in the demand for ferry travel post-Brexit and will help us meet the needs of our passenger and freight customers in the decades to come. It also clearly demonstrates our commitment to LNG as a fuel and, our ambition to operate one of the most modern, green and comfortable ferry fleets in the world.”

The three 42,200 tonne E-Flexer class ships will be amongst the biggest in Brittany Ferries’ fleet. Each will be 215 metres long with 3,000 garage lanemetres for freight vehicles, and capacity for around 1,000 passengers in 340 en-suite cabins.

Three passenger decks will contain a range of boutiques, restaurants, bars and cafes all decorated to offer a rich and inspiring Spanish style giving customers a colourful foretaste of Iberian landscapes, towns and culture as they sail.

Published in Ferry

#ferries - Brittany Ferries resumed service on the Cork-Roscoff seasonal route last week and has recently revealed passenger, freight and financial results for 2018.

According to figures revealed by Brittany Ferries, passengers using the Ireland-France route totalled 86,388 (2016-217) and 97,174 (2017-2018) an increase of 12.5%. In terms of freight vehicles 494 were carried in (2016-2017) and 1,059 were transported during 2017-2018 a significant increase of 114.4.%

The encouraging results across the ferry operator's network come despite the pound being worth around 15% less than it was two years ago. That has proved challenging for a company whose income is generated in pounds sterling, with a cost-base in euros. Further challenges have come from on-going Brexit uncertainty and the effect this is having on summer 2019 bookings.The ferry company carried 2.6 million passengers on all routes last year, an increase of 1.4%. It made a profit of €8 million on a total turnover of €442m.

Brittany Ferries is a French company. But its success is largely built on British customers. In total, 85% of passengers come from the UK. It has therefore used its 2018 results to reinforce an important message to French government: take urgent steps to ensure British holiday makers and freight move freely. The regions of north west France depend upon Brittany Ferries as a significant wealth generator.

On 7 March 2019 Jean-Marc Roué, Brittany Ferries’ president, hosted Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs. Showing him around Roscoff port and its facilities, Roué talked at length about border controls and customs, as well as health and sanitary checks for goods arriving in France.

“Jean-Yves Le Drian told us that Roscoff will become a border post on the 29th March 2019,” said Roué. “In my view, the return of a border between France and the United Kingdom fully legitimises the return of dedicated air and border police. These Police Aux Frontières (PAF) would work alongside customs services in the same way they currently do in ports like St. Malo, Cherbourg and Le Havre. It is only a short-term solution in the event of a hard Brexit, but I am counting on the Minister to relay this proposal to the Government”

Concerns in France come as planning to minimise traffic queues on the UK side intensifies. Portsmouth, for example, is Brittany Ferries’ UK-hub. Recent exercises led by the Local Resilience Forum suggest that carefully managed traffic solutions can prevent freight delays en-route to the port, should the UK leave the EU without a deal on March 29th.

“We made a profit in 2018 thanks to a combination of careful management and structural change,” added Christophe Mathieu, CEO of Brittany Ferries. “Our positive results come despite the pound being worth significantly less than it was two years ago and as Brexit uncertainty weakens demand for trips to France and Spain this summer.

“We are now preparing for the years ahead. We have invested in three new ships and have made a clear commitment to the regions we serve. The challenge now is one for the French government in particular. All steps must be taken to ensure we have the right frameworks in place in Brittany and Normandy post-Brexit to keep goods flowing freely and to ensure our British passengers have the confidence to sail this summer and in the years to come.”

Brittany Ferries operates 11 routes linking the UK, France, Spain and Ireland with twelve ships, four of which are chartered. In the UK it operates services from Portsmouth to four destinations in France and two in northern Spain. From Poole it sails to Cherbourg and operates a freight-only service to Bilbao.

Plymouth has been linked to Roscoff since the company’s first sailing on 2 January 1973, the day after the UK joined the Common Market (forerunner to the EU). Today ferries also link Plymouth with northern Spain.

More than half a billion euros were spent by Brittany Ferries’ customers visiting France last year. There were 854,000 unique visitors, staying 9.2 million bed-nights. Brittany, Normandy and the Loire were the biggest regional winners. Brittany hosted 295,000 visitors generating €150m in wealth for the region. Normandy welcomed 219,000 guests who spent €78m; the Loire received 143,000 visitors who spent €78m, thanks to British customers.

Three new ships have been ordered post-Brexit, following an investment of €450m in the company’s future. Two of these ships will be powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas), a fuel that reduces sulphur and particulate emissions to almost zero and cuts average CO2 (carbon dioxide) output by around 20 per cent.

When the newbuild arrives at the end of the year, Honfleur will be the first ferry on the English Channel to be powered by LNG. As well as environmental credentials, the new ferry will also embody the company’s drive towards a digital future and ambition to reveal even more fabulous destinations around the coastlines of the European west.

Published in Ferry

#ferry - The hull of Brittany Ferries’ brand new LNG-powered cruiseferry Honfleur for English Channel service, was today given a traditional ship launching ceremony at the FSG shipyard in Flensburg, Germany.

At midday, hundreds of well-wishers, invited guests, shipyard workers and Brittany Ferries team members lined the quaysides. From there the crowds saw the completed hull of the vessel slid down the historic building slipway and into the chilly waters of the Flensburg Fjord.

The launch is the third milestone in the construction of Honfleur, following cutting of the first steel in March, and laying of the keel in August.

Since the keel was laid, 118 huge steel hull sections have been welded together on the slipway to create the 10,000 tonne six-storey behemoth before launching. The completed hull already contains all the ship’s main machinery including its efficient and environmentally-friendly LNG-electric propulsion system.

The launch marks Honfleur’s place in a long and historic line of ships to be constructed at the Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft yard (FSG) situated on the tip of Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany. Since its foundation in 1872 more than 750 ships have been designed and built at the site.

Honfleur represents a new generation of cross-Channel ferry combining state-of-the art design and sustainable thinking with a smart, digitally-informed customer experience. The ship’s passengers will enjoy innovative experiences and fresh service concepts along with the highest standards of French onboard hospitality and catering. Altogether Honfleur will carry up to 1,680 passengers and will offer 261 cabins, two cinemas, restaurants, boutique shopping and choice of spacious passenger lounges

Honfleur will be an environmental pioneer on the English Channel. When it enters service it will be the first ship on the Channel to be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). LNG provides major environmental advantages, reducing carbon dioxide, and cutting sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate emissions to almost zero. The ship’s hull has been hydro-dynamically optimised; this combined with gas-electric propulsion machinery will reduce energy consumption while improving onboard comfort and minimising vibration and noise levels.

The launch marks the beginning of the next phase of the ship’s construction. Over the coming weeks and months, two giant superstructure ‘mega blocks’ currently en route by barge from shipyards in Poland will be hoisted into position by giant cranes, and the ferry’s attractive and modern interiors will be installed. Then, the ship will complete a series of sea trials allowing every system on board to be rigorously tested, before the first passengers board the vessel on the Portsmouth to Caen/Ouistreham route in summer 2019. The route is Brittany Ferries’ most popular carrying around 1 million passengers, 300,000 cars and 100,000 freight units each year.

Jean-Marc Roué, Brittany Ferries’ president said: “Today’s a big day for Honfleur, and a proud moment for everyone at Brittany Ferries, particularly our teams dedicated to bringing the project to fruition.”

“Honfleur will be the largest and greenest ship that Brittany Ferries has ever operated – she’ll also be the smartest: packed with new technology, innovation and comforts”, said Christophe Mathieu, CEO Brittany Ferries. “It’s a statement of our commitment to fleet renewal and long-term, sustainable development. And it will be the first of three new ships to be delivered post-Brexit, all part of a €450m investment programme to make Brittany Ferries fit for the future.”

“Now a new phase in Honfleur’s construction begins, as the superstructure is added and we work to prepare the ship to welcome its first customers this summer. We can’t wait to show them everything Honfleur has to offer.”

For more information and to follow the progress of the build from now until entry into service visit the Honfleur website.

Published in Ferry

#ferry - A fresh new look involving a splash of colour across the Brittany Ferries fleet sees a bright new logo in striking shades of blue, orange and green!

The new design, which comes with a more modern, warm and lyrical typeface, will be applied to each ship during refit, and will eventually be emblazoned on the side of every vessel’s hull and funnel.

The logo according to Brittany Ferries is the result of extensive customer research. The design more truly reflects the fullness of the ferry operator's experience: the richness of travel by sea, the warmth of the welcome ashore and on board, and the spirit of discovery for some of Western Europe’s most beautiful holiday destinations.

As well as a ferry operator Brittany Ferries is a holiday company too, with four decades of experience arranging sail-and-stay packages. Today the company offers thousands of hotels and holiday properties in France, Spain, Ireland and the UK making it one of Europe’s leading tour operators. The new logo reflects its destinations, with blue, green and orange shades evoking the seas, landscapes and skies of the holiday regions Brittany Ferries serves

On the Irish services, Afloat adds is the Cork-Roscoff (seasonal) service that ended earlier this month (see Pont-Aven's Route du Rhum story) though the newly launched first ever direct Ireland-Spain route of Cork-Santander continues sailings on a year-round basis.

The new visual identity comes as part of a multi-million euro investment to make Brittany Ferries fit for the future. Three brand new ships are currently under construction and due to join the fleet in 2019 Honfleur, 2021 Galicia and 2022 Salamanca, see story. Afloat adds Honfleur, a LPG powered ferry under construction at the FSG yard in Germany, is to enter English Channel service between Portsmouth-(Oustreham) Caen.

A wide-ranging digital transformation programme is also underway, aimed at enhancing every aspect of the customer experience from researching to booking, checking-in, sailing, holidaying and returning home.

Florence Gourdon, marketing director explains: “This is the right time for an exciting change. We last evolved our logo 15 years ago (see Bretagne, former flagship on Irish route) and so much has changed in that time – for example we now live in a digital world. And while the previous logo fully communicated the reliability and trustworthiness of our ferry service, it didn’t fully embody the emotional side of travelling and holidaying with Brittany Ferries and the discoveries inherent in the fabulous destinations we serve.”

“This new look stands for everything that makes our brand: the quality of our products and services, the passion, pride and professionalism of our teams, and our bright future with brand new ships and rich experiences on the horizon.”

The new design was first glimpsed by eagle-eyed ship spotters at the shipyards where Armorique and Pont-Aven are currently undergoing winter refits.

Afloat adds Pont-Aven is recieving such work as part of routine winter drydocking in Spain at the Astander Yard in Astilleo. The flagship having shifted on 11 November from nearby Santander where the direct continental Cork service as previously mentioned is maintained year round by the chartered-in ropax tonnage, Connemara.

The ships from the fleet will shortly return to service sporting the new look. The new logo will be unveiled further over the coming days. Then, and throughout 2019 it will be rolled out across all Brittany Ferries sites, marketing and operations including everything from signs, brochures, uniforms, to advertising and websites.

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - Honfleur, Brittany Ferries newbuild cruiseferry celebrated a second milestone with a keel-laying ceremony this week. The occasion marked a leap forward in sustainable design, one that is at least as significant as the ship’s innovative liquefied natural gas (LNG) power deliver system.

Afloat highlights that the cruiseferry is to enter service in 2019 on the UK-France route: Portsmouth-Caen (Ouistreham). The Normandy port is situated close to the cruiseferry's namesake coastal city of Honfleur. At more than 42,000 gross tonnage, the new ship will become the largest in the fleet, surpassing current flagship Pont-Aven which operates Cork-Roscoff in addition UK-Spain services.

The keel-laying ceremony marked the point at which the first hull blocks are lowered onto a slipway. After they are joined, Honfleur’s blocks will form a complete a hull that promises to glide through the seas far more efficiently than ships of the past. Fuel consumption will be lower and ride quality will be better for passengers.

“Technology has transformed the way we design hulls,” says Heike Billerbeck, head of ship theory and hydrodynamics at FSG, the German shipyard at which Honfleur is being built. “Over the last 20 to 30 years we’ve reduced wave resistance by between a third and a half.”

Heike and her team spent around three months creating a digital model of Honfleur’s hull, and testing it using computational fluid dynamic software.

This allowed them to visualise the size and angle of the bow wave and wake the ship will create: smaller waves mean less wasted energy. They also created animations of how Honfleur will perform in heavy seas as well as calculating exactly how much power Honfleur will need to sail at a given speed, ensuring she meets efficiency targets set by Brittany Ferries.

The shape of the hull – of which the keel is the very lowest beam running from bow to stern – has a huge impact on a ship’s manoeuvrability in port and its stability at sea. A good design reduces vibration that can sometimes be felt from the propeller which means Honfleur will be a more comfortable ship, as well as being better for the environment.

“Passengers will never see Honfleur’s hull, but they will certainly feel its benefit,” said Brice Robinson, Brittany Ferries naval architect, speaking from the keel laying ceremony. “Think of your car. It has been designed to slip through the air as cleanly as possible to maximise its fuel efficiency. The hull of a ship is just the same. It’s just a question of hydrodynamics rather than aerodynamics.”

The ‘coins in the keel’

The moment at which the keel is laid is marked by an ancient traditional coin-laying ceremony. This week, coins were placed in Honfleur’s keel by representatives of Brittany Ferries and FSG as a token of good fortune.

The origins of this tradition can be traced back to Roman times, when coins were placed into the mouths of soldiers killed in war in order to pay Charon, the mythological ferryman, to carry them across the River Styx.

In the past keel laying took on greater significance. For wooden ships, this was often the first time a vessel took physical shape. Now this happens with the earlier steel-cutting ceremony, after which a shipyard spends several months building huge sections of hull which are then craned onto a slipway, then welded together.

But the moment that the first of those steel sections is laid onto the slipway (from which Honfleur’s finished hull will be launched into the Baltic this December) remains an important moment.

For more visit the Honfleur website here.

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - Trying to help people is Britanny Ferries with those who booked with Irish Ferries WB Yeats, but may not be able to accommodate many because they are nearly full for July and August.

As the Irish Examiner writes, Brittany Ferries chief executive Christophe Mathieu said some people who had booked trips to France with Irish Ferries had rebooked with his company for the Cork-Roscoff route, but space is now nearly at a premium.

Around 19,000 people have had their summer sailings to France cancelled due to a delay in the delivery of a new ferry to Irish Ferries.

Mr Mathieu made the comments yesterday at a special reception in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, which marked 40 years since Brittany Ferries opened its Cork-Roscoff service.

“Brittany Ferries was only five years old when we launched services linking Roscoff and Cork back in 1978. In our first year of operations we carried just under 22,000 passengers on the MV Armorique,” said Mr Mathieu.

The newspaper had more here on the new Ireland-Spain service and the impact of Brexit. 

Published in Ferry

In May 1978 Brittany Ferries launched their Cork-Roscoff ferry route from Cork City Quays with their flagship MV ‘Armorique’. At the time, all ferries departing Cork used the passenger terminal at Tivoli, before being transferred downriver to the dedicated Ringaskiddy Ferry Terminal which opened in 1982. Since then the passenger and freight route linking Ireland and France has gone from strength to strength and today the Port of Cork acknowledged this service by wishing Brittany Ferries a Happy 40th Anniversary linking the two countries.

Port of Cork Chairman, John Mullins said: ‘It is with great pleasure that today we wish our long-term customer, Brittany Ferries, a very happy 40th anniversary linking Ireland and France. This company has shown true dedication in providing a reliable and attractive ferry service for both passengers and freight. On behalf of the Port of Cork I would like to congratulate Brittany Ferries on the last the 40 years’ service and wish them every success for the next 40 years.’ 

Bretagne Britanny ferriesBritanny Ferries Bretagne off Cobh in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

Over the last 40 years Brittany Ferries have become the market leader on the Western Channel for passengers and freight and in 2018 this commitment was further endorsed when Brittany Ferries announced the first ever ferry service linking Ireland and Spain, with the new Ro-Pax twice-weekly service from Cork to Santander. As well as serving Cork to Santander, this route also delivers an additional weekly return-sailing from Cork to Roscoff.

The new Ro-Pax ferry service was welcomed by the Port of Cork which has brought an increase in Spanish tourism to Cork and provides a very useful connection for exporting freight from Ireland to mainland Europe. This new service, the first direct service from Ireland to Spain, will offer the option for freight carriers and passengers to bypass the UK and French land-bridge to Spain as Brexit uncertainty continues. The Port of Cork hinterland is the key primary pharma, agriculture and food & drink output region in the country. This more efficient supply chain will offer freight customers a direct route to market enabling them to get their produce to market quicker than if they travel through traditional ports.

In 2017, Brittany Ferries carried more than 87,000 passengers, which was an increase of 4% on the previous season and contributing to the national economy. While France continues to be a popular travel destination for Irish travellers, the number of French people visiting Ireland showed no signs of waning as nearly 45,000 availed of the route, representing 52% of all passengers carried.

Published in Port of Cork

#FerryNews - Brittany Ferries has confirmed recently the charter of two brand new cruise-ferries to serve its long-haul UK to Spain routes.

Both ships adds Afloat are of the Stena E-Flexer design (see Stena Line Irish Sea debut in 2020) that will be built at the Avic International Weihai shipyard in China, with the first arriving in time for Brittany Ferries on the 2021 holiday season.

The latest investment underlines the company’s commitment to Portsmouth and to its Spanish routes. It comes after work began this spring on a brand new LNG (liquefied natural gas) cruise ferry called Honfleur to serve its most popular Portsmouth – Caen crossing. Like Honfleur, which arrives in 2019, both ships announced today will be registered under the French flag and will be crewed by French seafarers.

Together the three ships will spearhead a wide-ranging, five-year fleet-renewal and modernisation programme worth around £400m.

Portsmouth is Brittany Ferries’ UK hub and will serve as the base for both ships. Upon arrival they will cater for an ever-increasing demand for long-haul ferry travel to Spain. In 2017 the company operated 844 sailings on routes from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth to Santander (Cantabria) and Bilbao (Basque Country), carrying 331,000 passengers and 150,000 cars. That was around 80 per cent more than ten years earlier.

“Spain is by far the most popular foreign destination for UK holidaymakers, and we have seen significant growth in demand,” said Jean-Marc Roué, Brittany Ferries’ president. “Post-Brexit, we expect this to continue and today’s announcement is a clear statement of intent. As well as passenger traffic, we believe that an increase in freight capacity will open the door to more hauliers seeking direct access between Britain and the Iberian peninsula.”

Last year, Brittany Ferries carried around 40,000 freight units from UK to Spain. Lorry drivers are able to relax as the sea takes the strain, reducing fuel costs, tolls and road pollution that comes from driving long-haul through France.

Measuring 42,400 tonnes and 215 metres long, the new vessels will be the longest in Brittany Ferries’ fleet. If Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower were laid on its side, each would outstretch it by 45 metres. These impressive dimensions will allow them to carry almost two miles of freight vehicles apiece.

The new ships are being chartered from Swedish shipping company Stena RoRo, as part of its new generation of state-of-the-art ‘E-Flexer’ vessels. Both will be gas-ready and promise a combination of luxury and Spanish style. “These ships will be like twins,” added Catherine Querné, Brittany Ferries strategy director. “Outwardly, they will have the same dimensions and shape, but they will be dressed very differently. And of course each will have its own unique personality.”

There will be plenty for passengers on board. Three spacious passenger decks will host boutiques, a café, restaurant, bar and an exclusive club lounge. Around 300 en-suite cabins will cater for approximately 1,000 passengers and many will be adapted for customers with disabilities, as well as those travelling with their pet dog or cat (Brittany Ferries carries around 70,000 annually).

Elegant décor will ensure everyone feels in the holiday mood as soon as they step on board. Brittany Ferries will be working with Spanish interior designers to give the ships a stylish, modern feel and feel, evoking the golden coasts, verdant landscapes and vibrant towns of España Verde (Green Spain) on the northern coastline.

The announcement follows the launch of the first ever direct ferry service linking Ireland with Spain when Brittany Ferries’ Connemara made its first Cork-Santander sailing with an arrival to the northern Spainish port on 10 May 2018.

The year 2018 also marks 40 years of continuous services linking Britain with the Iberian Peninsula. Since 1978 more than 5.5 million passengers have enjoyed Spain without the ‘plane thanks to Brittany Ferries.

Technical specifications:

Length 214.5m

Breadth 27.8m

Draught 6.4m

Tonnage 42,400

Service speed 22 knots

Decks 10

Passengers 1,000

Passenger cabins Around 300 plus 36 for freight drivers

Published in Ferry
Page 1 of 7

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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