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Displaying items by tag: Fourth (Finnish) Freighter

A Finnish island based shipping operator has a ro-ro freighter on charter to P&O Ferries Dublin-Liverpool on the intensive central Irish Sea corridor link which currently only has one passenger ferry in service, writes Jehan Ashmore

Godby Shipping AB of Mariehamn, the capital of Åland Islands located in Baltic Sea between Finland and Sweden, has its ro-ro freight only Misida time-chartered to P&O. Misida brings a boost in capacity for 150 trailers (2,155 freight lane meters) throughout the decks of the 2007 built 14,100 gross tonnage ship.

Misida last month became the fourth ship to boost capacity having joined P&O's ropax sister's Norbank and Norbay in addition to another charter of Clipper Pennant from Seatruck Ferries. However, currently the service is reduced to three ships as Afloat reported the 125 freight-trailer / 114 passenger ropax Norbay is offservice from the Liffey-Merseyside link due to dry-docking on the opposite side of the England at the facility of A&P Tyne, near Newcastle on the North Sea.

In the meantime Misida operates Norbay's roster with the 22.50 arrivals (Mon-Fri) to Dublin Port and departures at 03.00 (Tue-Sat) for Liverpool on the 8 hour passage. This leaves only Norbank as the sole passenger carrying ship linking Ireland and Britain, though it should be note 'no' foot passengers are conveyed. 

Misida however will only remain on the Irish Sea charter with P&O until this month as the ship along with sister Misana in October, have been chartered to Norwegian liner operator Sea-Cargo. The pair are Godby's largest ships out of seven-ship fleet are to be deployed bet­ween the Nordic nation and continental Europe.

So will P&O seek another replacement freighter when Misida is expected to leave the service this month?

The presence of Misida in the meantime on the Irish Sea recalls a fleetmate Mistal from last year's charter to P&O, though this freighter initially provided relief duties before taking over the roster of European Endeavour which was later sold to Scandinavian interests.

In disposing the largest ship on the Liverpool link last year, P&O Ferries passenger capacity was also reduced as European Endeavour carried 300 compared to 114 each of Norbank and Norbay. The pair were transferred from North Sea service in 2002 to the Irish Sea between Dublin and Gladstone Dock, Liverpool.

By coincidence the European Endeavour was sold to another Finnish operator, Ederi AB Eckerö and renamed Finbo Cargo. Despite as the name suggest, the ship also takes passengers on a Finland-Estonia no-frills route branded as 'Finbo Cargo by Eckerö Line' on the link connecting Helsinki (Vuosaari) to Tallinn (Muuga) where these outlying ports are located to the east of both Baltic capitals.

Eckerö Line also operate MS Finlandia (originally Moby Freedom from Italy) which offers a faster 'cruiseferry' based service directly connecting the ports of Helsinki and Tallinn.

Also currently operating in the Baltic is Mistral as Afloat tracked this morning (repositioning voyage?) between Kotka, Finland and Hirtshals, Denmark. The deployment of the freighter is understood to have only begun this month, though the charterer requested not to be known as outlined last month on Godby's website. 

Previously, Mistral from the beginning of this year was chartered to Spanish ferry operator, Balearia on a mainland-Canary Islands service linking Huelva-Tenerife-Las Palmas.

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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