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Displaying items by tag: Dover freightferry

#NorthChannel – In an unusual move, a Dover-based freight-ferry is to be deployed on P&O Ferries Larne-Cairnryan route for two months while a pair of ropax sisters are refitted on Merseyside, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Sisters European Causeway and slightly longer European Highlander of 21,000 gross tonnage will depart North Channel duties to Cammell Laird, Birkenhead.They are to undergo apiece an 18-day refit work.

European Seaway, one of the Dover-Calais fleet which P&O Ferries usually deploys as an accompanied freight-only vessel carrying up to 200 passengers on the English Channel, will travel to the North Channel to cover for them. This is to begin over the next two months. 

The 124 x 15m freight unit capacity European Seaway, is slightly larger in tonnage terms at 22,988 to the route’s routine ropax sisters that ply the busy short-sea ferry crossing to Scotland.

The programme for the North Channel ropax comprises hull repairs, blast and paint jobs and steel deck renewals is scheduled to be completed by early June. This will be the first time the ships have been re-fitted since 2015 when improvements were made to passenger facilities.

The £1.2m contract for the refits also includes P&O Ferries central corridor Dublin-Liverpool route in which ropax sister, Norbay has already begun a refit as Afloat reported earlier this week. The 17,500 gross tonnage ship is to be followed by Norbank. Both dry-dockings will take 16 days to complete.

As Afloat reported at the start of this week, P&O chartered-in vehicle-carrier, Neptune Aegli which took up duties from Norbay. The Greek operated ship also joins European Endeavour which had been drydocked in February at the Merseyside dockyard and shipbuilder.

As also alluded in that earlier report, P&O Ferries Hull-Zeebrugge sisters Pride of Hull and Pride of Bruges returned recently from career- extension refits in Gdansk, Poland, but this also included a Dover-Calais pair. They are Pride of Canterbury and Pride of Burgundy. The refits of this quartet by Remontowa shipyard cost £14m. Pride of Burgundy is a larger and converted sister of the North Channel bound European Seaway.

The 1991 built European Seaway is the only sister of four ‘Super-Freighter’s built for Dover-Zeebrugge service that remains in an un-altered state. The other trio were modified with extensive rebuilding of passenger accommodation block added to the ship’s superstructure.

On a trip to Cornwall during 2004, European Seaway was observed laid-up in Falmouth. Since then the career of the ferry has not always been in a such a role. Charters have included serving as accommodation-only vessel during construction of wind energy projects in the North Sea.

Published in Ferry

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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