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Displaying items by tag: WB Yeats

#ferries - The newest cruise ferry serving in Irish waters, W.B. Yeats has received the ‘Ferry of the Year 2019’ award at the annual Ferry Shipping Summit.

The cruise ferry operated by Irish Ferries was recognised for its “striking exterior and timeless interior design,” is currently sailing between Dublin and Cherbourg up to four times per week.

Andrew Sheen, Irish Ferries Managing Director, said, “Irish Ferries are enormously proud and delighted that the W.B. Yeats has been named Ferry of the Year for 2019. The award is recognition for a cruise-ferry that has established a new design standard with maximum flexibility in mind to serve both the Irish Sea and Ireland-France route.”

The newbuild which can transport up to 300 cars and 165 trucks was also recognised for its dynamic design and class-leading technologies, while also providing its 1,800 passengers with luxurious comfort and style defining sophistication.

Along with the Shippax Ferry Concept and Shippax Interior Architecture Awards as previously reported, the ‘Ferry of the Year 2019’ award marks a hattrick of wins for the W.B. Yeats

Published in Ferry

#ferries - Its been a momentous week for W.B. Yeats as the new €144m cruiseferry won prestigious international shipping awards ahead of completing a first round trip voyage to France having arrived back in Dublin Port this morning, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The operator of the 1,800 passenger, 300 car and 165 truck capacity cruiseferry, Irish Ferries choose the return leg, Cherbourg to Dublin to be the 'official' maiden voyage so to enable marking the start of the St. Patrick's Day weekend in France. To celebrate the occasion, the port in Normandy was lit-up in the emerald green of Ireland, much to the delight of passengers and crew.

In fact the impressive 51,388 gross tonnage W.B. Yeats, the largest ever to serve on any Ireland-France route and the largest custom-built ferry for the operator, had actually carried out its inaugural commercial crossing on the route's outbound sailing. This involved a departure from Dublin on Thursday afternoon and with an arrival yesterday in the French port.

The WB Yeats though first began service for Irish Ferries on the Dublin-Holyhead route in mid-January, but now concentrates by operating between Dublin and Cherbourg. This will see a 20% greater passenger capacity and up to 4 days per week.

Passengers have the luxury of space, free WiFi, a choice of cinema screen movies and shopping, many bars and restaurants on-board in addition to outside decks to take in the views. A notable feature among the ship's green credentials is a 'scrubber' technology to meet the EU Sulphur Directive and so reduce harmful emissions into the environment.  

The debut of W.B. Yeats is expected to provide a major boost to trade and tourism between France and Ireland, though it follows a much delayed entry into service due for last summer leading to cancellations. As widely reported last year, W.B. Yeats was beset with delays during construction at the German shipyard of Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG), Flensburg. This was due to third party contractors unable to meet FSG's timeframe in keeping to a schedule to deliver the ship on time on the Dublin-France route. See related compensation story, here. 

It was at the French port yesterday where the importance of the route for both tourism and trade was highlighted by Herve Morin, President of Ports de Normandie who said, “With bilateral trade between France and Ireland accounting for almost €20 billion and with French people taking over 500,000 trips to Ireland annually, the Cherbourg to Dublin crossing plays an immensely important role in supporting tourism and trade links between both nations. Ports de Normandie is delighted to celebrate the maiden voyage of the W.B. Yeats from Cherbourg, knowing that it will further strengthen the long and enduring ties of friendship, family, and culture between France and Ireland.”

This afternoon W.B. Yeats is scheduled to depart Dublin on its second sailing outbound to mainland continental Europe, though Irish Ferries have still yet to confirm whether they are to resume seasonal services out of Rosslare Europort to France. As Afloat previously reported in December Irish Ferries announced that they are unlikely to operate a service between Rosslare and France in 2019 and the operator added they would continue to keep this situation under review.

The uncertainty over the Rosslare based routes to Cherbourg and Roscoff, Brittany, is set against the backdrop of the forthcoming Easter Bank Holiday. In addition the implications of tourism and trade in the south-east region given the potential impacts of whatever Brexit scenario arises. 


Published in Ferry

#ferries - At a major international shipping awards ceremony, Irish Ferries has triumphed by taking home both the Ferry Concept Award and the Interior Architecture Award for their recently launched cruise-ferry, the W.B. Yeats.

The annual Shippax Industry Awards ceremony, which was last night held aboard the MS Silja Serenade in Stockholm, recognises newly-delivered ferries and cruise vessels that demonstrate creativity and design innovation.

Ahead of its 'maiden' voyage from Cherbourg to Dublin tomorrow, the W.B. Yeats (first actual sailing Afloat adds takes place today and from Dublin) received the Shippax Interior Architecture Award for a contemporary design that employs understated elegance and natural tones throughout. Relaxing cabins and luxury suites, as well as attractive public areas such as the ‘Innisfree’ Club Class Lounge and the ‘Maud Gonne’ lounge and bar, were acclaimed. Unique style elements, including the use of energy efficient LED lighting systems, also received high praise.

With the flexibility to cover both short sea (Irish Sea) and long sea (Dublin-France) routes, the ship’s state-of-the-art design and configuration was also recognised by the jury who awarded the W.B. Yeats with the Shippax Ferry Concept Award.

Measuring 195m in length and capable of transporting 300 cars, 165 trucks and 1,800 passengers, the W.B. Yeats is dynamic in design and modern in technology, meeting both tourism and freight customer needs. Its separate 295-car deck is located directly beneath the accommodation decks, guaranteeing easy access for passengers. While the separation of commercial vehicles improves safety and allows for an optimised 2,800-lanemetre cargo intake.

Andrew Sheen, Managing Director of Irish Ferries said, “The Shippax Awards are among the most prestigious accolades within the cruise-ferry industry, so we are incredibly proud that the W.B. Yeats has been recognised both for its stunning interior and innovative design. The ship is a game changer not just in terms of cruise-ferry travel between France and Ireland, but also in the context of setting a new benchmark for cruise-ferry travel world-wide.”

The sailing is the first of up to four departures per week from France to Dublin and is expected provide a major boost to trade and tourism between France and Ireland.

Published in Ferry

#ferries - In another statement issued by Brittany Ferries, the operator has announced it is aware of press reports regarding financial setbacks at FSG, the German shipyard where its next ship, Honfleur is under construction.

The statement continued, FSG has made clear that these setbacks are a consequence of financial penalties imposed for late delivery of Irish Ferries newest ship, W.B. Yeats.

Regrettably, it is now clear that Brittany Ferries Honfleur, (which features the innovative LPG power plant), will not be delivered in time for the 2019 summer season, as scheduled. Everyone is disappointed by this news.

Brittany Ferries awaits a concrete proposal from FSG to secure the contract to deliver Honfleur. The company hopes this will come in the very near future and will communicate in more detail at that time.

Passengers who have booked travel on Honfleur from 9 July, will automatically be transferred to Brittany Ferries Normandie. The company apologises for any inconvenience and disappointment that this change will cause.

Published in Ferry
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#ferries - Irish Ferries have expressed its disappointment with the issuing of notices by the National Transport Authority (NTA) yesterday in respect of cancellations that arose following the delayed arrival of the new W.B. Yeats ship.

These cancellations were due to extraordinary circumstances which were completely outside of the company’s control. Since the delay was due to unforeseen delays by the shipbuilder FSG, and was notified to passengers months ahead of planned sailings, Irish Ferries does not agree that the company infringed the relevant EU Regulation. In dealing with its customers Irish Ferries believes it took every reasonable action to provide passengers with alternative travel options, from a no-quibble immediate refund to allow them to make alternative travel plans, as well as alternative sailings on the Oscar Wilde out of Rosslare Europort and Land-Bridge alternatives via the UK.

Irish Ferries would like to state again that it sincerely regrets the disruption to its passengers and once again conveys its apologies to all of those who were affected last year. A goodwill gesture of €150 discount for a sailing to France this year has already been provided to all customers impacted by the cancellations.

Ongoing discussions with the NTA on the interpretation of EU regulation has been a critical factor in regretfully concluding that we are unlikely to operate the Oscar Wilde to France out of Rosslare in 2019 – a service which has been in operation continuously for 45 years, providing the South East of the country with an important tourism and freight link directly to the European market. The NTA’s approach to the Regulation has contributed to making the route commercially unviable into the future. Furthermore, the NTA interpretation of the EU Regulation specifically regarding land bridge (i.e. travel between Ireland to France through Britain), significantly penalises regional ports due to their lower frequency of back up ferry services from Ireland to the UK in the event of a cancellation of a direct Continental service.

Irish Ferries has, on numerous occasions, attempted to engage with the NTA by offering to enter into a mediation process without any preconditions. The NTA have not taken up this offer. Irish Ferries will appeal the NTA’s decision in the courts (including, if needed, the European Court of Justice).

Irish Ferries firmly believe that consumer protection should be reasonable, proportionate and in full compliance with the law. We also believe it is essential to protect the viability of direct links to the Continent which is now all the more critical against the backdrop of Brexit.

Published in Ferry
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#ferries - The National Transport Authority has announced its decision concerning cancellation of WB Yeats sailings by Irish Ferries last summer and which has led the NTA today to serve notices on the operator that has two months to comply regarding maritime regulations. 

The NTA a statutory non-commercial body, which operates under the aegis of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS), issued information below on the cancelled sailings. In addition related documentation (pdf) downloads available from links on the NTA's website (see bottom of page). 

The National Transport Authority (the “Authority”) is designated pursuant to a 2012 Statutory Instrument as the National Enforcement Body for the enforcement of EU Regulation 1177/2010 concerning the rights of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterway and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 (the “Maritime Regulation”).

The objective of the Maritime Regulation is to ensure a high level of protection to passengers using waterborne transport anywhere in the European Union.

Under the European Union (Rights of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterway) Regulations 2012 (SI No. 394 of 2012) (the “2012 Statutory Instrument”), the Authority, either on its own initiative or following a complaint to it by a passenger, being of the opinion that a provider is failing to comply with or is infringing the Maritime Regulation is required to cause to be served on the provider a notice specifying the failure or infringement concerned and requiring the provider to take such measures as are specified in the notice, within such period as may be specified, for the purposes of complying with the notice.

A provider on whom a notice is served may, within 21 days of the service of the notice, make representations to the Authority.  The Authority is required to consider any such representations and shall by notice, confirm, modify or withdraw the notice.

On 21st April, 2018, Irish Ferries made a public announcement that they had been informed by the German Shipyard, FSG (which was building the new ferry, ‘WB Yeats’, for Irish Ferries) that its delivery to Irish Ferries was likely to be delayed.  Irish Ferries stated that, while this delay was not yet fully confirmed by the shipyard, they had, in the interest of minimising the level of potential disruption to its customers, taken the decision to cancel a number of affected sailings in July, from the 12th to 29th of July inclusive from Dublin to Cherbourg and Cherbourg to Dublin.

Subsequently, on the 12th of June 2018, Irish Ferries further announced that “due to extraordinary circumstances beyond its control, the delivery of the WB Yeats has been further delayed by FSG” and advised that it had no option but to cancel all the planned sailings to France for ‘WB Yeats’ for the Summer.

The National Transport Authority received correspondence from passengers relating to the cancellations.

As the National Enforcement Body, the Authority investigated into the circumstances giving rise to the cancellations that occurred and their consequences to ascertain whether there was compliance with the provisions of the Maritime Regulation, in particular Article 18 and Article 19.  The Authority engaged extensively with Irish Ferries in this regard. 

Article 18 of the Maritime Regulation relates to what is to be offered by the carrier to impacted passengers in the event of cancelled or delayed departures, namely, the choice between:-

(a) re-routing to the final destination, under comparable conditions, as set out in the transport contract, at the earliest opportunity and at no additional cost,

(b) reimbursement.

Article 19 of the Maritime Regulation relates to the payment of compensation if requested by passengers in the event of delay in arrival at the final destination as set out in the transport contract.  This is based on a % of the ticket price.  Article 19 of the Maritime Regulation sets out that, without losing the right to transport, passengers may request compensation from the carrier if they are facing a delay in arrival at the final destination as set out in the transport contract.  Compensation is 25% or 50% of the ticket price depending on the scheduled duration of the journey and extent of the delay experienced.

Article 20(4) of the Regulation provides an exemption to Article 19 for carriers in the event that the carrier proves that the cancellation or delay is caused by weather conditions endangering the safe operation of the ship or by “extraordinary circumstances” hindering the performance of passenger services and which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

The Authority was not satisfied that the unavailability of ‘WB Yeats’ is an extraordinary circumstance hindering the performance of the cancelled passenger services which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

The Board of the Authority formed the opinions that Irish Ferries failed or is failing to comply with and has infringed or is infringing Article 18 and Article 19 of the Maritime Regulation on the 19th of October 2018 and authorised the serving of notices on Irish Ferries. 

Two separate Notices (an Article 18 Notice and an Article 19 Notice) were served on Irish Ferries on the 22nd of October 2018 specifying the failures/infringements in relation to Article 18 and Article 19 of the Maritime Regulation and requiring Irish Ferries to take the measure(s) specified in the Notices, namely to

-          pay compensation to impacted passengers who have already requested compensation from Irish Ferries for the delay in arrival at the final destination as set out in the transport contract, where such delay falls within the criteria set out in Article 19(1)(a) – (d) of the Maritime Regulation, in accordance with the provisions of Article 19 of the Maritime Regulation, and

-          in relation to passengers impacted by the cancelled sailings, where such impacted passengers had to travel to and from Rosslare (rather than Dublin) and/or to and from Roscoff (rather than Cherbourg), Irish Ferries is to reimburse any additional costs incurred by the impacted passengers in travelling to and from Rosslare rather than Dublin and to and from Roscoff rather than Cherbourg.

Irish Ferries submitted representations to the Authority in response to the Article 18 Notice and Article 19 Notice pursuant to the 2012 Statutory Instrument.  These representations were reviewed and discussed by the Board of the Authority. 

The Board of the Authority at its Board Meeting on the 25th January 2019 decided to confirm the Article 18 Notice and the Article 19 Notice and notices pursuant to Regulation 4(2) of the 2012 Statutory Instrument were served on Irish Ferries on 28th January 2019. 

Irish Ferries have a period of 2 months to comply with the Notices.

Published in Ferry

#ferries - Once again W.B. Yeats first scheduled sailing albeit freight-only on the Dublin-Holyhead route has been deferred, it was meant to begin today with a morning sailing bound for the Welsh port, writes Jehan Ashmore

The Irish Ferries freight website lists the W.B. Yeats instead with a departure from Dublin Port next week, Monday, (21 January) on the 20.55 crossing to Holyhead, with an arrival in Anglesey on the Tuesday, just after midnight at 00.10hrs.

As highlighted before, W.B. Yeats first sailing originally timetabled was to have taken place almost a week ago on 13 January. Currently maintaining services is Oscar Wilde and Epsilon. 

If the new €147m cruiseferry does carry out this first maiden commercial sailing on Monday, it would be held in the same week when sailings are to accommodate 'passengers'. As Irish Ferries previously confirmed to, W.B. Yeats inaugural passenger and freight service is scheduled for next Friday (25 January) departing Dublin in the early hours at 02.00.


Published in Ferry

#ferries - It's almost a month ago when W.B. Yeats made a delivery voyage to Dublin Port, since then the Irish Ferries new cruiseferry has until recently included occupying a quayside where the 'Brexit-Busters' routinely berth, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The main priority of W.B. Yeats at its new homeport, was firstly to carry out berthing trials at both linkspans used by Irish Ferries located at the multi-user Terminal 1. This is from where the 1,885 passenger and crew/1,200 vehicle new ship, was to have started service today to Holyhead with an inaugural (initial freight-only) sailings to the north Wales port. 

According to the operator's freight website, however the latest update is for sailings to start this Saturday. As for passenger and freight services, they are scheduled to begin on January 25th. 

In the meantime other passenger and freight sailings are been maintained, though this morning Ulysses departed for dry-dock in Birkenhead. In addition W.B. Yeats is also to operate crossings between Dublin and Cherbourg, France, beginning mid-March.

On completion of the Terminal 1 trials in Dublin, the 194m cruiseferry with 2,800 freight lane metres had berthed within Alexandra Basin from where freight only operator CLdN ro ro S.A. introduced last year, Delphine and Celine. The sisters are the world's largest freight ro-ro ships of their type that serve on direct routes to mainland Europe, Zeebrugge in Belgium and Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

The CLdN pair, each an impressive 74,000 gross tonnage and at 234m long with space for 8,000 freight lane metres, have been dubbed the Brexit-Busters. Their nicknames were given as they provide a clear alternative trading route of the UK landbridge via the Irish Sea and English Channel or use of the Eurotunnel.

Afloat contacted the Irish Continental Group, parent company of Irish Ferries, as to why W.B. Yeats had taken up a berth within Alexandra Basin?  The operator responded 'no comment'.

It would appear Irish Ferries have seized an opportunity in between the sailing schedule of the Brexit-Busters, to shift W.B. Yeats into Alexandra Basin. This involved the vessel vacate from a 'layover' mode while alongside the North Wall Quay Extension (beside the East-Link bridge).

During a visit by Afloat to the port, on the W. B. Yeats first of two stints spent in Alexandra Basin, could be seen the cruiseferry's port side bow shell door that was partially open, while facing the berth's (No. 6) ro-ro linkspan. Otherwise for the most part the newbuild over the festive period and into the New Year had berthed (No. 18) next to the East-Link. It is at this particular berth where vessels tend not to be operating for a variety of reasons, unless cruiseships.  

W.B. Yeats, however was on the move again yesterday, having shifted from another 'layover' berth along the south quays, another first for the newbuild. The cruiseferry this time having returned to the opposite bank but to Alexandra Basin (East) which adjoins where the Brexit-Busters berth. At this adjacent quay is another ramp linkspan where CLdN operate services to continental Europe albeit using smaller tonnage.

The moving of W.B. Yeats in between these linkspans in both neighbouring basins, suggests the operator is examining various scenarios in the use of ro-ro facilities throughout the port. These facilities along with 'ferry' terminals are running at record levels to meet the demands fueling the Irish economy, and where the port is making preparations for a No Deal Brexit. 

Against this backdrop of W.B. Yeats debut into commercial service, the Irish Government have been making Brexit port related contingency measures in Dublin and at Rosslare Europort. While looming on the horizon, in the UK, is this evening's momentous Houses of Commons Vote on Brexit to accept or reject the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU. 

The importance of Ireland-EU trade it is predicted by experts in the shipping industry, will see a trend for ships in size similar to CLdN's, particularly post-Brexit, and will become increasingly more important in operating direct transport trading links between Ireland and mainland Europe.

Such key trade routes has seen the Brexit Busters make use of a custom-built rotating ramp linkspan (Berths 31/32). This unique linkspan of the port, permits flexibility for next-generation ro-ro giants to use either quays subject to where other nearby ships are allocated. The linkspan is part of new infrastructure invested in the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment Project.

The ABR project forms phase 1 of Dublin Port's Masterplan up to 2041. Ongoing works involve quay reconfiguration to increase space and accommodate larger and deeper drafted cargoships in addition capable of accepting some of the world's largest cruiseships. This is take place at a dedicated double berth cruise-terminal, marking another new chapter for the port.

Published in Ferry

#ferries - W.B. Yeats maiden sailing as previously reported on has changed date according to the Irish Ferries freight website, though the rescheduled sailing remains based on a freight-only basis, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Orginally, the first sailing was due to depart from Dublin tonight, however the inaugural sailing on the Irish Sea is instead scheduled for this Tuesday, (January 15th). This is to take place in the morning with the 08.05 sailing bound for Holyhead, Wales.

Further research has revealed albeit on the operator's passenger website, that at the same time W.B. Yeats maiden sailing departs the Irish capital, Oscar Wilde with a 1,450 passenger capacity, is also to leave then and operate to a full service. Sailings taking passengers too, Irish Ferries has confirmed to Afloat, will see W.B. Yeats start such services on January 25th.

As for this Tuesday's sailings, both W.B. Yeats and Oscar Wilde are scheduled to arrive in the Anglesey port just 10 minutes apart with the brand new €147m cruiseferry to arrive first with a docking time scheduled for 11.20. Passengers on board Oscar Wilde will also be able to get close-up views of the new 51,000 gross tonnage cruiseferry when in Holyhead's outer ferryport. 

Another change next week on the core Ireland-UK landbridge route involves Ulysses, the route's main cruiseferry since 2001, which is to go off service for routine annual dry-docking.

In addition ro-pax Epsilon which underwent dry-docking, is to resume sailings also on Tuesday, though today the chartered-in ferry with limited passenger capacity, is docked in Cherbourg.

Due to conducting dry-docking in Brest, Brittany, Epsilon has recently made a repositioning passage to Normandy so to enable offering a sailing tonight from the French port to Dublin, where the vessel is due to arrive tomorrow morning.

Otherwise sailings on the direct Ireland-France routes have been almost non-existent of recent months, however this is all about to change with the debut of W.B. Yeats from mid-March.

As for Rosslare based routes connecting Cherbourg and Roscoff, Irish Ferries last month announced they are unlikely to operate such services between the Wexford port and France this year. The operator added that they will continue to keep this situation under review and stated W.B. Yeats will operate from Dublin to Cherbourg up to 4 days per week.


Published in Ferry

#ferries - Irish Ferries new cruiseferry W.B. Yeats is finally to enter service by making a maiden commercial sailing on the Dublin-Holyhead route this Sunday, albeit the giant ship will only take freight vehicles and drivers, writes Jehan Ashmore.

According to the operator's freight website, the first sailing to be operated by W.B. Yeats is from Dublin Port on January 13th with a scheduled departure time of 20.55hrs. The €147m cruiseferry of around 51,000 gross tonnage can handle 1,200 vehicles, is to sail the core Irish Sea crossing with an arrival time in the north Wales port the next day at 00.10hrs. 

The first full service including passengers is to take place later this month as previously reported on, when the 1,885 passenger and crew capacity cruiseferry departs the Irish capital on Friday, 25th January. On the occasion of this maiden crossing, however the sailing is to depart in the early hours at 02.00hrs.

The debut of WB Yeats which has 440 cabins, will see the ship take over the routine sailing roster of Ulysses. The 2001 built ferry is to undergo an annual dry-docking, leaving Oscar Wilde to maintain sailings based on carrying both passengers and freight. 

Before this take place, as a matter of reflection it is almost a month since W.B. Yeats docked in the Irish capital for the first time, having made a delivery voyage from Germany..

The shipyard, Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft located in Flensburg was beset with delays in completing the 194m long newbuild. The delays FSG cited were due to the delivery of interior components for public areas and electrical systems installed in the hull and deckhouse.

After months behind schedule, which led to cancellation of thousands of high-season holidays makers booked on the Dublin-Cherbourg route, W.B. Yeats will now first enter service instead on the Ireland-Wales route. It was originally planned to have the new ferry take up this service in September following the end of last year's summer sailings on the Dublin-Cherbourg route.

As for the French connection, Irish Ferries have given a mid-March date for the launch on the direct route to continental Europe. 

Published in Ferry
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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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