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Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland

Goods in terms of volumes going through Ireland's ports between April and June this year fell in comparison with the same period last year, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The seven main Irish ports - Dublin, Cork, Rosslare, Drogheda, Shannon Foynes, Waterford and Bantry Bay - handled 12.3 million tonnes of goods in the three months.

This is a decrease of 7.5% compared with the same three months of 2018.

Exports from these ports amounted to 4.3 million tonnes, an almost 9% fall on the same period last year, while there were 8 million tonnes of imports, a 6.7% decrease on the three months in 2018.

For more BreakingNews has a report. 

Published in Irish Ports

In an announcement Belfast Harbour is to invest £40m to upgrade its container terminal, writes the News Letter. 

Victoria Terminal 3 (VT3), where the upgrade will take place, connects Northern Ireland to global markets through European hub ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp.

Recently, Belfast Harbour launched its 2035 Strategic Outlook with plans to be the ‘Best Regional Port in the World’ and a ‘Smart Port’ by investing in new technology and enhancing capacity.

It is expected that this upgrade will improve productivity and help customers grow and target new trade opportunities.

More here from this story to take place at VT3. 

Published in Belfast Lough

It was another record performance achieved at Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) as the western port revealed its annual report for 2018.

According to SFPC, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were €6.8million. As for operating profits in the period they remained exceptionally strong at €4.8million, €1.2million or 34% higher than five years ago, 2014. Revenue increased by 4.9%.

The company’s main ports on the Shannon Estuary, Foynes and Limerick, again achieved record tonnage levels, with an 11.7% increase in throughput. However, overall tonnage throughput was down by 5.5% to 10.7million due to a reduction of activity at privately managed terminals on the estuary.

This is the sixth year in succession that general cargo terminals have increased year on year.

Tonnages at Foynes and Limerick terminals for 2018 are some 50% higher at end 2018 than at end 2013 and exceed previous historically high tonnage levels experienced during 2006 by 11.2%.

To read more click the download here. 

Published in Shannon Estuary

A brand new Chinese built Dutch flagged tanker ordered by a Swedish lake based shipping group arrived into Dublin Port from Wales this morning, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The L-class leadship Thun Lidkoping is the first of five 18,650 deadweight chemical product tankers which was completed by Avic Dingheng Shipbuilding Ltd in China.

The name chosen for the leadship operated by Thun Tankers (Erik Thun Group), derived from the shipowner group's inland homeport of Lidköping located on the southern shores of Lake Vänern. This is the third largest lake in Europe which is connected to the sea by shipping canals.

The L-class each with a cubic capacity of (98%) 20,665 m3, have a design developed in-house using Erik Thun AB's long experience of building sustainable, high quality vessels that operate as a major player in northern Europe.

In terms of environmental care, a concerted focus has been made with new regulations and customers’ needs taken into the key design and building process of this new class type.

The 148m tanker along with second sister, Thun London which too was delivered recently, operate in the Gothia Tanker Alliance network while crewing and technical management is conducted through MF Shipping Group.

This morning's arrival in Dublin Bay of Thun Lidkoping from Milford Haven, Wales, also involved Afloat to track a passing fleetmate, Thun Gemini which had departed Dublin Port having docked at Oil Berth No.1. It was at the adjacent berth that Thun Lidkoping berthed, though the maiden call of the newbuild tanker took place at the Irish port only last month.

As for Thun Gemini, the smaller G -Class tanker is returning to the same south Wales port which saw a passage offshore of Dun Laoghaire Harbour where Afloat reported of the tanker's once-off call to enable maintenance carried out at the south Dublin Bay port.

Such a call by the 2003 built 4,100dwt tanker was notably a rare occurance for such a vessel type which as previously reported took place three decades ago.

Published in Dublin Port

The Port of Galway is where Afloat.ie takes an impromtu look in at the city's dock where the focus on shipping movements concentrates on cargoships involved up to the end of this month, writes Jehan Ashmore.

In port this afternoon is Arklow Shipping's Dutch flagged short-sea trader, Arklow Valley which arrived yesterday from Belfast Harbour to engage in scrap steel. The 5,158dwat vessel was launched in 2016 as the fourth of 10 Royal Bodewes Eco-Traders commissioned by ASL.

It is somewhat unusual to see an ASL in the Port though what is a common sight is the Bláth na Mara, a domestic cargoship serving all three of the Aran Islands in Galway Bay. The operator Lasta Mara Teoranta is based at The Docks but at the pier beyond the enclosed single basin of the Dun Aengus Dock that forms the main  port.

Typical cargoes carried on board Bláth na Mara range from food stuffs chilled and frozen, household goods, furniture, coal, cars, transit vans, tractors, horses in addition to various types of lifestock.

Recently, Islands Ferries announced plans to restore a direct passeger service from next year. The last such service which included freight was operated by O'Brien Ferries using the custom built Oileáin Árann. 

At sea today is Bithav (6,834dwat) which is off the south Cork coast having departed with bitumen from Port Jerome, (Rouen) France. Likewise of Arklow Valley, this Dutch flag vessel will too remain in port until tomorrow when both vessels set sail in the morning.

On Sunday, Corrib Fisher is to make another arrival having loaded oil products from Cork Harbour at the Whitegate Refinery. The 6,090dwt tanker of UK firm, Jas Fisher Everard has in recent months taken over the routine duties of a fleetmate the aptly named Galway Fisher.

The 10 year-old replacement vessel is also on standby as an emergency oil spill response vessel for the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

Published in Galway Harbour

The Irish Continental Group (ICG) has said it is totally prepared to meet the challenges posed by Brexit, whatever way those challenges emerge.

At the group’s annual general meeting, John McGuckian, ICG chairman, said, “we’re confident that whatever happens, we will react in an efficient and profitable way”.

Speaking to The Irish Times after the meeting, ICG chief executive Eamonn Rothwell said he’d prefer if sterling wasn’t so weak but he didn’t show concern on the basis that he doesn’t “know what Brexit is yet”. Mr Rothwell added that he doesn’t expect the group to suffer as 40 per cent of travellers on the Irish Sea are travellers originating in Ireland, while the remainder are British.

At the group agm there was no opposition to any of the resolutions, with remuneration practices in the company supported by over 90 per cent of shareholders. The shareholders dividend of 7.76 cent per share was also approved at the meeting. That dividend will be paid in June.

For more including the sale in 2017 of the former Isle of Innisfree (Kaitaki) to a New Zealand operator and results on ICG's ro-ro operations click here. 

Published in Ferry

#WorldMaritimeDay - ‘Connecting Ships, Ports and People’ is the theme of this year’s World Maritime Day on Thursday 28 September.

Discussing the place of the International Maritime Organization (IOM) in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, IOM secretary-general Kitack Lim says ports have a significant role to play in generating “increased employment, prosperity and stability through promoting maritime trade.”

To this end, the IMO will help UN member states “to develop and implement maritime strategies that address a wide range of issues, including the facilitation of maritime transport, and increasing efficiency, navigational safety, protection of the marine environment, and maritime security.”

Lim adds that “to be sustainable, human activities have to be balanced with the oceans’ capacity to remain healthy and diverse in the long term.”

A parallel event for this year’s World Maritime Day, similar to last year’s forum, will be held in Panama this October.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#SligoShip - Sligo Harbour has a general cargoship in port today, Arundo one of 18 vessels so far that docked in 2016 an increase of 18% in traffic compared to last year, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Afloat had monitored the cargoship Arundo (1985/1,957grt) at the north-west port having sailed from Rostock, Germany.

According to the harbour master, the ship is discharging lignite (coal) alongside the Deepwater Jetty. On completion of unloading, a departing cargo will be baled waste products bound for The Netherlands where it is to be incinerated. 

Sligo Harbour can accommodate ships of 3,500 tonnes and is the only working harbour between Galway and Derry.

Under the Harbours Act 1996 the port was transferred from Sligo Port to the control of Sligo County Council. There are two working jetties the aforementioned Deepwater Jetty, 77m in length and Barytes Jetty of 55m.

 

Published in Ports & Shipping

#TallShipsRace - Bulker Arklow Meadow departed Aughinish, Shannon Estuary last week bound for the Port of Blyth, where the UK port was host to the North Sea Tall Ships Race, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Irish flagged Arklow Meadow had loaded at the Rusal Aughinish Alumina plant (see: sister report) from where the 'M' class 14,990dwt bulker departed to round Scotland. The bulker discharged at Blyth where the north-east English port has the Alcan Aluminium Ore Unloading Facility. The South Korean built bulker currently remains at this berth. 

At the Northumberland port a spectacular line-up of around 30 entrants of the North Sea Tall Ships regatta gathered for the Parade of Sail and which this year celebrated a Diamond anniversary of the Tall Ships race movement. The North Sea event followed that of the main Tall Ships Race 2016, the prestigious annual race which is also organised by Sail Training International.

It is exactly sixty years since the very first Tall Ships Race visited Lisbon, Portugal in 1956 - an international fleet aptly made a return visit this year, having set off from Antwerp, Belgium. The winner of the Tall Ships Race 2016 was Norway’s Statsraad Lehmkuhl as previously reported on Afloat.ie which visited Dublin Port last month after a cruise-in company to Coruña, northern Spain.

Last week’s sailing spectacular of the North Sea Tall Ships Parade of Sail was held in glorious conditions on the UK’s Bank Holiday at the end of August. As the magnificent tallships departed the Port of Blyth, the Parade of Sail was observed by spectators lining the decks of Princess Seaways, a ferry operated by the Parade sponsor, DFDS Seaways. The Danish shipping company also had something to celebrate, as 2016 marks their 150th anniversary.

Princess Seaways, made the special four-hour cruise to Blyth from Newcastle, further south along the coast. Otherwise the 31,000 gross tonnage ferry normally operates the Newcastle-Amsterdam (Ijmuiden) along with route partner and a sister, King Seaways. The former Val de Loire served Brittany Ferries seasonal Cork-Roscoff route until replaced by current incumbent, Pont-Aven that entered service in 2004 (this year installed with 'scrubbers'). The flagship also operates year round on France-UK and UK-Spanish routes.

Among the North Sea Tall Ship Races participants that were observed from the ferry's cruise, was another Norwegian entrant, Christian Radich, Poland’s Dar Mlodziezy, the UK’s Lord Nelson and the Dutch Morgenster, a visitor to this summer’s Dublin Riverfest.

At the weekend the Tall Ships had completed the 500 nautical mile leg from Blyth having arrived at the Swedish Port of Gothenburg culminating the North Sea Tall Ships Race. This was the fifth occasion that Gothenburg has hosted the Tall Ships.

Published in Tall Ships

#CargoshipFocus: Corrib Shipping, a Dublin based ship management company, whose Cathma, one of four cargsoships, is at anchor offshore of Cork Harbour this morning awaiting orders, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 3,990 gross tonnage Cathma, flagged in Curacao a Dutch island in the Caribbean, had sailed light yesterday from Foynes Port. The cargoship having discharged a cargo of fertiliser from Ventspils, Latvia.

Cathma had taken almost a week to complete the voyage from the Baltic to the Shannon Estuary port, one of six terminals operated by Shannon Foynes Port Company.

Along with her fleetmates, Cathma sails for Corrib Shipping based in Dundrum, Co. Dublin. Founded in 1995, Corrib comprises shipowning companies and employs officers and crew to man its vessels.

Cargsoships of Corrib sail as part of the Royal Wagenborg fleet, in which the Dutch shipping operator (alone has 170 plus vessels) act as chartering agents for the Irish company.

The other members of the Corrib dry cargsoship carrier quartet are Cora Jo, Jolyn and Cathy Jo. The latter vessel likewise of Cathma were built by Ferus Smit’s yard in Leer, Germany.

The shipbuilder's Dutch yard in Westerbroek is where Arklow Shipping Nederland B.V. had their first of 10 ‘C’ class leadships, Arklow Cadet launched in June.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Page 1 of 5

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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