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Displaying items by tag: H&W Belfast

InfraStrata the energy firm has asked for an extension from Harland and Wolff administrators to pay the final instalment for its purchase of the Belfast shipyard - due last Thursday - blaming the coronavirus pandemic.

The company still has £1.45m outstanding from the £5.25m deal which rescued the iconic company from closure.

However, it did not make yesterday's payment, saying it had been affected by the pandemic and worldwide lockdown restrictions.

"Given the current Covid-19 situation, the company has formally requested the administrators for an extension period in order to pay the final amount of the consideration," it said.

"Positive discussions are continuing with the administrators to determine an optimum time frame for the company to complete this final tranche of payment. The company will make an announcement as soon as an agreement has been reached."

More on this story from the Irish News here

Published in Belfast Lough

#BelfastLough - UK government should show greater support for shipbuilding firms after Brexit, according to the chief executive of Harland and Wolff.

As BBC News reports, Brexit offers opportunities, but the industry still needs government support, said Jonathan Guest.

A previous review recommended future naval ships should be built at UK yards, including Belfast.

Harland and Wolff hopes to be a part of a government plan to build five new Royal Navy frigates across the UK.

The new frigates would be built across different shipyards, but assembled at a central site, and ready for service by 2023.

For more on the shipyard, click here.

 

Published in Belfast Lough

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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