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Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
A £4m upgrade by Stena Line at the Port of Holyhead has begun
#FerryNews - More than £4m by Stena Line is to be spent on upgrades to improve infrastructure at the Port of Holyhead after recording a record year for freight growth. The upgrades will include the creation of additional freight space at…
Image illustration shows starboard side elevation of the €150m cruiseferry W.B. Yeats in which the pre-assembled superstructure (comprised of 3 x blocks) where brought by barge from Poland to the FSG yard in Germany. In a major operation heavy-lift cranes lowered the blocks onto the completed hull last week.
#FerryNews - Progress on Irish Continental Group's €150m cruiseferry W.B. Yeats has considerably moved on since the launch of the completed hull at a German yard almost a month ago, writes Jehan Ashmore. Construction of the newbuild's hull (photos) was…
Upper vehicle deck of Brittany Ferries Armorique taken in recent years when approaching a linkspan at Portsmouth International Port. On the right a heavy-lift barge at work in carrying out infrastructure improvements at the ferryport which continues as a £9 million double decked linkspan is the latest development. The Armorique at the time, which normally serves Plymouth-Roscoff was operating Portsmouth-Caen route while Mont St. Michel was receiving 'scrubbers' at the Astander yard in Spain.
#FerryNews - The ferry industry in the UK according to a recent report is gearing up for growth with more than £1 billion pounds worth of new investments planned in the next four years.  Portsmouth International Port has long realised…
DFDS ro-ro freighter Ark Dania which operates a UK-mainland Europe service: Immingham (Humber estuary)-Esbjerg (Denmark). AFLOAT.ie adds the giant Danish operator in 2014 closed the Harwich-Esbjerg route, marking the last direct 'passenger' UK-Scandinavian service, though as previously reported on Afloat, P&O Ferries are considering new opportunities to revive a North Sea link given the background of Brexit.
#FerryNews - Danish shipping giant, DFDS has just reported another record result for 2017, the year followed the 150th anniversary of the shipping company established in December 1866.  The operating profit according to DFDS was DKK 2.7 billion. The record…
A replacement ro-ro ferry, Stena Carrier is to take over in a freight-only mode, sailings on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route while routine ropax ferry Stena Horizon is drydocked. Afloat adds Stena Carrier is operated by a subsidiary of the ferry group, Stena Ro Ro which charters vessels to third parties.
#FerryNews - Around 35,000 calves are expected to be exported via the replacement ferry on the Rosslare-to-Cherbourg route during the four-week period that the Stena Horizon is out of action. According to Agriland, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the…
To showcase the opportunities on offer, the Louth based events company in partnership with the ferry firm are to host an open day (15 February) on board the Pride of Hull.  The cruiseferry one of the largest serving in UK waters operates the Hull-Rotterdam route.
#FerryNews - A Louth based events company is riding on crest of a wave after being hand-picked to work in partnership with P&O Ferries on an exciting new venture. As the Louth Leader reports the company First Media will be…
Tory Island’s 150 inhabitants will be served by a 40-year-old ferry come April
#IslandNews - Residents of Tory Island opposed to the introduction of a 40-year-old vessel for their only ferry service to the mainland are set to take their protest to the Dáil next week. As previously noted on Afloat.ie, residents were…
Ferry operator Stena Line confirmed that it has chartered a vessel as a temporary replacement ship for the Ireland-France route ropax Stena Horizon during its planned maintenance.
#FerryNews - Ferry operator, Stena Line is still awaiting approval to carry animals for live export on the vessel that is set to replace their Ireland-France route ship Stena Horizon. According to AgriLand which previously reported in recent weeks that…
Stena Line CEO Niclas Mårtensson (third from left) attended the official keel-laying ceremony of new RoPax vessels for the ferry operator at the AVIC Weihai Shipyard in China. The Ropax vessels are to be deployed to Irish Sea services.
#FerryNews - An official keel-laying ceremony of a new RoPax for Stena Line took place at the AVIC Weihai Shipyard in China last Friday. The traditional maritime event marks the start of the construction phase of the hull and the…
Belfast routes to Scotland and England are served by seven Stena ships, among them above a freight ferry astern of Stena Lagan which operates to Liverpool (Birkenhead) on Merseyside.
#FerryNews- Services on Stena Line's Belfast-Scotland and England routes in 2017 marked another record trading year for freight and passenger operations. Freight volumes on its Belfast to Cairnryan, Liverpool and Heysham routes exceeded a record 514 000 units, which represents…
ICG to sell their high-speed craft (HSC) Jonathan Swift (above: underway in Dublin Bay) to a Spanish operator. A replacement vessel in the form of another HSC, Westpac Express is to maintain Irish Ferries Dublin-Holyhead fast-ferry operated sailings.
#FerryNews - Irish Continental Group (ICG) announced today they are to sell their high-speed craft 'Jonathan Swift' which has served the Dublin-Holyhead for almost two decades to a Spanish operator. ICG the Dublin based group (parent company of Irish Ferries)…
Irish Sea central: Douglas Harbour, Isle of Man is where Ben-My-Chree a ropax designed ferry is seen from a window of the passenger walkway connecting the ferryport terminal. Currently, the winter schedules sees the ship serve Heysham in Cumbria and at weekends Birkenhead (Liverpool) on Merseyside. During the summer months Ben-My-Chree and fastferry Manannan share seasonal duties on the Belfast and Dublin routes respectively.
#Ferry - Ben-My-Chree, the ropax Isle of Man Steam Packet Company ferry completed 2017 with a reliability record of more than 99%. Operating services throughout the year, Ben-My-Chree chiefly serves Douglas-Heysham crossings and weekend sailings to Birkenhead during the winter…
MSC Cruises won the 'Best Main Stream Cruise Company' pictured with other winners at the annual ITAA's Irish Travel Industry Awards in association with Aer Lingus.
#CruiseLiners – The cruise and ferry industries were among those gathered at the annual Irish Travel Industry Awards held in association with Aer Lingus. The prestigious gala awards of the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) ceremony took place recently in…
Stena concerned that the marina development will interfere with operations of Fishguard Harbour and their ferry operations. Above: Rosslare route ferry, Stena Europe berthed at the south Wales port on the Pembrokeshire coast.
#CoastalNotes- A multi-million pound marina development planned for Fishguard Harbour, south Wales have fallen through. This morning (Thursday) reports the Western Telegraph, the Conygar Investment Company released a statement to the London Stock Exchange, writing off their £2m investment in…
A Scandinavian ro-ro freight ferry Afloat adds operating a Malmö (Sweden)-Travemunde (Germany) route is seen heading south to the German port on the Baltic Sea, having passed under the impressive Oresund Bridge. The combined motorway and rail bridge over the Oresund Strait links Denmark and Sweden.
#NewsUpdate - A bridge connecting Northern Ireland and Scotland a top architect has said claimed could create a "Celtic powerhouse". According to the Belfast Telegraph, Professor Alan Dunlop from Liverpool University said a road and rail crossing from Larne to…
This morning Isle of Inishmore resumed Rosslare-Pembroke service, following routine annual drydocking at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead on Merseyside. The twin funnelled cruiseferry in 2018, will mark 21 years in operation for the Irish Ferries ship seen underway off the Wexford coast and bound for south Wales.
#FerryNews - Following last week's hull launch of ICG's biggest cruiseferry W.B. Yeats in Germany, Isle of Inishmore completed a routine annual overhaul and departed a drydock in the UK on Monday, writes Jehan Ashmore. Afloat adds the Isle of…

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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