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Displaying items by tag: DublinCherbourg

Afloat has noted Stena Line's new Dublin-Cherbourg route launched in January, has not been operating on a regular basis by the inaugural 'E-Flexer' class ferry, in particular to sailings last month, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The operator's first route connecting the capital and mainland Europe began operations using the E-Flexer Stena Estrid, redeployed from the Dublin-Holyhead, where traffic so far this year is down due to post-Brexit.

The larger leadship E-Flexer ropax made a debut on the Ireland-Wales route in early 2020, just months before Covid-19 struck and subsequent first Irish lock-down that took place almost a year ago.

Another ropax, Stena Horizon having served this winter as Irish Sea relief ferry to cover overhaul of fleetmates, has recently taken up Dublin-Cherbourg duties, but otherwise normally operates Rosslare-Cherbourg.

But before Stena Horizon's debut on the Dublin-mainland Europe service, Stena Estrid had been running out of Rosslare to France, joining January's introduction of ro-ro freighter Stena Foreteller. This in an effort to boost capacity to meet surging demand from freight hauliers to bypass Brexit.

So why the change of ropax vessel serving the Dublin-Cherbourg route?, this led Afloat to seek a response from Stena Line below.

“Due to trade distortions on the Irish Sea caused by Brexit, Stena Line requires one of its E-Flexer vessels on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route due to the high demand from drivers for cabins on the ‘direct route’ and the other E-Flexers are required to cover similar demands into Belfast".

"The weekend service from Dublin-Cherbourg is covered by the vessel operating on Dublin-Holyhead, which is currently Stena Horizon, part of a more flexible fleet strategy employed by Stena Line where vessels are moved in line with current demand requirements".

Stena also added that "Demand remains strong on Dublin-Cherbourg and Stena Horizon is more than capable of handling the current demand but as always Stena Line will closely monitor traffic flows to ensure its fleet deployment is aligned for optimum efficiency.”

As of this afternoon, Stena Horizon is in Dublin Port prior to running week-day operations to Holyhead. While berthed at Rosslare Europort is Stena Foreteller and at the English Channel port of Cherbourg is where Stena Estrid is berthed. 

Published in Stena Line

Irish Ferries have further responded to demands from hauliers and new competition from Stena by boosting freight capacity with a second ferry added onto the Dublin-Cherbourg service this weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Afloat ascertained this development having observed the chartered ro-pax Epilson (170 freight units) depart Dublin Port on Friday afternoon with an outbound sailing to the mainland European port. It transpires based from the operator's freight website that the sailing took place earlier than scheduled due to the adverse weather conditions on the Irish Sea (see related story).

Further research revealed that Epsilon's sailing schedule on the direct Ireland-France involves a single round trip at the weekends. Whereas, during week-days the ropax resumes routine crossings on the Dublin-Holyhead service in tandem with the cruiseferry Ulysses.

Noting that the ferry sector is a constantly evolving scene given Brexit etc and so further changes in flexibilty of schedules can easily be expected. This can be due to operational reasons and market demand. 

As for the present, Epsilon this morning is making its inbound sailing to Dublin Port (due 12.00) from where yesterday evening Afloat also observed the route's other ship, the cruiseferry W.B. Yeats (165 freight units) depart in the reverse direction. Also this morning, this ferry is nearing completion of the crossing to the north France port in Normandy.

The move by Irish Ferries is set against the backdrop of rivals, Stena Line which made a first entry on to the Ireland-France route this month. This new service is operated by Stena Estrid, which likewise of Irish Ferries, makes a single round trip at weekends before returning to weekday based Dublin-Holyhead sailings joining Stena Adventurer.

This is about to change as next week Stena Line is to withdraw Stena Estrid from the Ireland-Wales service and onto the Irish capital-continental route and therefore increase sailings and capacity. In addition, the smaller capacity Stena Horizon is to take 'Estrid's place by transferring to the Dublin-Holyhead route having operated Rosslare-Cherbourg service (see: newcomer Brittany Ferries) also run by ro-ro freighter Stena Foreteller.

As reported earlier this month the transfer of W.B Yeats from Dublin-Holyhead to the Ireland-France route took place more than four months in advance than scheduled. This in response to the rapid surge demanded by hauliers wanting to avoid the UK land-bridge and resultant complications of customs clearance of a post-Brexit UK.

W.B. Yeats at more than 50,000 gross tonnage is the largest ferry operating out of Ireland but due to heavy seas the ferry took a 'weather route' which involved departing Dublin Bay via the Baily Lighthouse and onward to the Kish Lighthouse and further offshore to deeper waters.

Otherwise in more favourable weather, the ferry heads south out of Dublin Bay via the Muglins Lighthouse and along off the east coast sandbanks until around off Wicklow Head. From these waters the course veers further offshore and towards the centre of the St. Georges Channel.

With Stena adding to Irish Ferries services on the Dublin-Cherbourg route, they follow the original pioneer on the direct route first launched by P&O Ferries in 2003 using the ro pax European Ambassador. On occasions subject to freight traffic demands, the ro pax would make en route calls to Rosslare Europort but on the majority of occasions this involved an arrival from France.

In the second year of service, P&O opened the route up to 'foot' passengers which was welcomed and also on a personal basis having taken the inaugural crossing on this direct and convenient connection to the continent.

Published in Irish Ferries

W.B. Yeats, the largest ferry operating out of Dublin Port has switched from the Holyhead route to Dublin-Cherbourg due to the continued surge in freight demand on direct routes to France, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 165 freight accompanied unit capacity Irish Ferries ship began the Ireland-mainland Europe route last week though the cruise ferry was originally scheduled to enter service but not until 25 May, marking the traditonally busier summer season.

Irish Ferries early redeployment of the larger lorry-driver cabin capacity W.B Yeats on the French route led to the transfer of the chartered ropax Epsilon to return on the Dublin-Holyhead route. The smaller ropax works in tandem with the cruise ferry Ulysses though passenger demand on the Irish Sea is low given this quiet time of the year coupled with Covid-19 restrictions. While rivals, Stena Line recently implemented temporarily a reduction in sailings as Afloat reported due to supply-chain issues.

The swap of vessels between these routes is no surprise given the surge in demand experienced in Rosslare Europort where rivals Stena Line prior to the festive season stepped up capacity also to Cherbourg that was due to begin last Monday.

In addition the launch by DFDS new Rosslare route to Dunkirk on 2nd January is another indicator of such freight demand. The level in haulage capacity is to increase yet further when Brittany Ferries in March will also connect the Wexford ferryport and Cherbourg.

The Normandy port is not only proving a convenient and strategic port for Irish haulage firms and other customers using three ferry operators, as Brittany Ferries recently reintroduced the freight-only ferry Cotentin but serving the UK.

After an absence of 7 years for the French operator, Cotentin's Stena Line Baltic Sea service ceased late last year with the freighter returning to English Channel service sailing on New Year's Day on the Cherbourg-Poole route.

Cotentin is back due to the UK Department for Transport's contract for extra freight capacity on routes to France following Brexit and the consequent termination of the free trade agreement with the EU.

In April, Barfleur the route's routine ferry resumes service and will offer passenger capacity too.

Published in Irish Ferries

#ferries - Its been a momentous week for W.B. Yeats as the new €144m cruiseferry won prestigious international shipping awards ahead of completing a first round trip voyage to France having arrived back in Dublin Port this morning, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The operator of the 1,800 passenger, 300 car and 165 truck capacity cruiseferry, Irish Ferries choose the return leg, Cherbourg to Dublin to be the 'official' maiden voyage so to enable marking the start of the St. Patrick's Day weekend in France. To celebrate the occasion, the port in Normandy was lit-up in the emerald green of Ireland, much to the delight of passengers and crew.

In fact the impressive 51,388 gross tonnage W.B. Yeats, the largest ever to serve on any Ireland-France route and the largest custom-built ferry for the operator, had actually carried out its inaugural commercial crossing on the route's outbound sailing. This involved a departure from Dublin on Thursday afternoon and with an arrival yesterday in the French port.

The WB Yeats though first began service for Irish Ferries on the Dublin-Holyhead route in mid-January, but now concentrates by operating between Dublin and Cherbourg. This will see a 20% greater passenger capacity and up to 4 days per week.

Passengers have the luxury of space, free WiFi, a choice of cinema screen movies and shopping, many bars and restaurants on-board in addition to outside decks to take in the views. A notable feature among the ship's green credentials is a 'scrubber' technology to meet the EU Sulphur Directive and so reduce harmful emissions into the environment.  

The debut of W.B. Yeats is expected to provide a major boost to trade and tourism between France and Ireland, though it follows a much delayed entry into service due for last summer leading to cancellations. As widely reported last year, W.B. Yeats was beset with delays during construction at the German shipyard of Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG), Flensburg. This was due to third party contractors unable to meet FSG's timeframe in keeping to a schedule to deliver the ship on time on the Dublin-France route. See related compensation story, here. 

It was at the French port yesterday where the importance of the route for both tourism and trade was highlighted by Herve Morin, President of Ports de Normandie who said, “With bilateral trade between France and Ireland accounting for almost €20 billion and with French people taking over 500,000 trips to Ireland annually, the Cherbourg to Dublin crossing plays an immensely important role in supporting tourism and trade links between both nations. Ports de Normandie is delighted to celebrate the maiden voyage of the W.B. Yeats from Cherbourg, knowing that it will further strengthen the long and enduring ties of friendship, family, and culture between France and Ireland.”

This afternoon W.B. Yeats is scheduled to depart Dublin on its second sailing outbound to mainland continental Europe, though Irish Ferries have still yet to confirm whether they are to resume seasonal services out of Rosslare Europort to France. As Afloat previously reported in December Irish Ferries announced that they are unlikely to operate a service between Rosslare and France in 2019 and the operator added they would continue to keep this situation under review.

The uncertainty over the Rosslare based routes to Cherbourg and Roscoff, Brittany, is set against the backdrop of the forthcoming Easter Bank Holiday. In addition the implications of tourism and trade in the south-east region given the potential impacts of whatever Brexit scenario arises. 

 

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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