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Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland

#ferry - Ports of Rosslare Europort and Waterford could take spillover freight traffic from Dublin Port should the State’s main seaport suffer delays from new customs after Brexit under no-deal contingency plans being considered.

As The Irish Times writes, more than 80% of freight transport crossing the UK “landbridge” between the Republic and continental Europe passes through Dublin Port due to the frequency and speed of sailings to Holyhead, Liverpool and Heysham.

As part of contingency planning by government departments, the possibility of Rosslare Europort, which is operated by Iarnród Éireann, being used to take freight traffic from Dublin is being assessed if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal, and customs checks result in a major backlog of traffic at British ports.

“Rosslare Europort would be an obvious alternative option,” said Gerry Culligan, Irish Rail’s commercial director.

Mr Culligan put excess capacity on the twice-daily sailings operated each by (Ro-Ro operators) Irish Ferries and Stena Line between Rosslare and Fishguard and Pembroke in Wales at between 30 and 40%

Rosslare had, he said, received an approach from another shipping company, already serving routes between Ireland and the UK, to consider another possible service post-Brexit should there be a backlog in Dublin. He declined to identify the company.

For further reading on Supply Chains and Container (Lo-Lo) traffic click here.

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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