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Displaying items by tag: Irish port change

In an announcement Brittany Ferries is to move its Ireland/Spain sailings from Cork to Rosslare Europort, with the first sailing due to take place on 28 February. The new Spanish arrival port from Rosslare will be Bilbao as Afloat also reported yesterday.

The French ferry company nevertheless emphasised its continuing commitment to its popular Cork-Roscoff route which celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 2018. Each year the Cork-Roscoff route carries nearly 100,000 holidaymakers between Ireland and France.

“This was not a decision we took lightly and follows extensive consultation with our freight customers who sought better road connections and reduced driving distances,” said Christophe Mathieu Brittany Ferries CEO. “We opened the route in 2018 with a two-year trial window. While passenger numbers have been encouraging, the reality is that freight numbers, which are key to route viability, were not sufficiently robust. However I want to make it clear that we remain committed to Cork, with our flagship Pont-Aven cruise-ferry service to Roscoff. We’re also committed to an Ireland-Spain route, now via Rosslare, and we’ll look after existing passengers whose future travel will be affected by this change.”

All customers already booked on affected sailings from the Port of Cork (see: response) will be given the option to transfer their booking to sailing between Rosslare and Bilbao/Roscoff. An allowance will be given to cover additional transfers. Alternatively, a full refund will be provided to those who choose to cancel.

The Cork-Santander route which was launched in 2018 was primarily aimed at the freight market into Europe although it also carried holidaymakers, with an ‘économie’ no-frills onboard experience. The new route out of Rosslare will again concentrate on freight with an option for holidaymakers.

Glenn Carr, General Manager, Rosslare Europort said: “We are delighted to welcome Brittany Ferries to Rosslare Europort. This new Rosslare to Bilbao service will be attractive for trade and tourism alike. We very much welcome that this service is being launched because of demand from freight customers, due to Rosslare’s strategic position and access to key markets. Brittany Ferries will also benefit from our €25 million investment in port facilities, infrastructure and technology, as part of the Port’s strategic plan. We look forward to working closely with Brittany Ferries to ensuring the success of their new service.”

Why Rosslare - Bilbao?

  • Rosslare-Bilbao replaces Cork-Santander as key freight route to Europe
  • The change is in response to demand from Irish and continental hauliers
  • Company confirms ongoing commitment to Cork-Roscoff, which will continue to be primary tourism route
  • New Rosslare services will include an Ireland-France rotation to Roscoff
  • Rosslare sailings to commence 28 February 2020

The consensus among hauliers is that Rosslare, with its proximity to Dublin and the east coast road network, is a preferred option. Equally hauliers operating on the European mainland noted that Bilbao is more attuned to freight traffic and has easier transport links into Europe. Detailed discussions also took place with the Ports of Cork and Rosslare. The company has confirmed that Cork-Roscoff will remain a vital route for tourism, both into and out of Ireland.

As with the current Cork-Santander sailings, the new Rosslare-Bilbao sailing will be twice-weekly and will incorporate a weekly Ireland/France rotation. It is expected that despite the concentration on freight, the route will carry a number of holidaymakers to both Spain and France. This has been the experience with the existing Cork-Santander route.

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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