Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
Holyhead marina in north Wales, with project images for the waterfront development planned by Conygar Stena Line at Newry Beach
#Holyhead- Holyhead, north Wales is where a developer behind a £100m marina development is in talks to take full control of the scheme by acquiring the stake of ferry giant Stena Line. As the Daily Post reports, Conygar Stena received…
IOM Steam Packets' ropax ferry Ben-my-Chree sailing in rough seas.
#FerryNews - Manx history was made as the islands parliament, the Tynwald voted to take the Isle of Man Steam Packet into public ownership (last) week. Following a three-hour debate, reports IOMToday, Tynwald voted by 23 votes to one in…
DFDS closed the only Scotland-Belgium 'ro-ro freight-only' route last month. Afloat adds that the original service began in 2002 with 'passenger' and freight sailings served by Superfast's Blue Star Ferries whose Blue Star 1 passes under the Forth Bridge en-route for Zeebrugge. This port is where 'Brexit-Buster' ro-ro only vehicle giant Celine (operated by CLnd)  has a direct service to Dublin and Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
#FerryNews - Scottish M.P. for Dunfermline and West Fife, Douglas Chapman has held "positive" talks about a new passenger and freight ferry service between Rosyth and Belgium. As the Dunfermline Express writes the M.P. believes Brexit could actually enhance the…
Main Arran-Ardrossan ferry, Caledonian Isles underway on the Firth of Clyde operates for CalMac.
#FerryNews - In south-west Scotland, the Arran Ferry Committee has urged the powers that be to keep the ferry travelling to Ardrossan during the planned upgrades at the Harbour. The committee met on Monday, May 14 and numerous groups, businesses…
In a troika involving Irish Shipping Ltd, M.V. Leopard (originally in all white livery) began the first ever direct Ireland-mainland continental Europe passenger/car ferry service 50 years ago this month between Rosslare and Le Havre, France. In addition to running later in the winter of 1968 a UK-Iberia-Africa service. Above: the 6,000 tonnes French flagged ferry is seen in 1979 with pale blue colours of P&O Normandy Ferries which acquired the ship three years previously and still operated on the English Channel. Before the ship left northern Europe, she spent a stint on the North Channel for Townsend Thoresen.
#FerryNews - The first ever direct Ireland-mainland continental Europe ferry service began on this date 50 years ago when on 17 May, 1968, M.V. Leopard made a historic crossing from Rosslare to Le Havre, France, writes Jehan Ashmore. The pioneering…
Manx politician Lawrie Hooper, MHK wants islanders to have a stake in the government's approval to acquire the IOM Steam-Packet
#FerryNews - The Manx public should have the chance to share in the fortunes of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in the years to come. That's the view of Ramsey Member of the House of Keys (MHK) Lawrie…
Tynwald, the Manx Parliament makes history as it backs the Isle of Man Steam Packet take-over. Above Afloat adds is the operator's main ferry, the ropax Ben-My-Chree docked in Douglas Harbour.
#FerryNews - Tynwald, the Manx Parliament made history as it voted to take the Isle of Man Steam Packet into public ownership. According to IOM Today, following a three hour debate, Tynwald voted by 23 votes to one in the…
Twelve Quays Terminal in Birkenhead on the Wirral Peninsula, Merseyside where major works are to take place to enable 'next-generation' ro-ro ferries that Stena Line are to introduce on the Belfast route from next year
#FerryNews - Major works are to be carried out at an Irish Sea ferryport at the Wirral dock connecting Merseyside with Northern Ireland, as a scheme to accommodate bigger ferries is completed. As the Wirral Globe reports, the works will…
Deal to safeguard 'strategic sea services. Above: Afloat adds the Isle of Man Steam Packet's ropax Ben-My-Chree is seen swinging within Douglas Harbour.
#FerryNews - A state-owned Isle of Man Steam Packet would be better for passengers as well as the economy, the Manx Chief Minister believes. Howard Quayle speaking on Manx Radio has advocated a government takeover of the company since he…
Capt. Kurt Buchholz in 2013 when he outlined plans for Ellan Vannin Line at a public meeting
#FerryNews - A shipping line that was set up by a businessman as a planned rival to the Isle of Man Steam Packet has poured scorn over the Manx government’s takeover plan. As IOM Today reports, Kurt Buchholz founded the…
Ireland-Spain: a historic first as ropax Connemara operated by Brittany Ferries makes a maiden arrival to Santander Bay this afternoon off the northern Spanish coastal region of Cantabria. The 'direct' continental route opens up new tourism potential and improved trade access opportunities.  Up to 2014, there had been an Ireland-Spain service (albeit via France) operated by LD Lines.
#FerryNews - Connemara, Brittany Ferries chartered ropax completed a maiden Cork-Santander crossing this afternoon, marking the historic first arrival of an Ireland-Spain ferry service, writes Jehan Ashmore. Under glorious blue skies, Connemara arrived into Santander Bay and docked at the…
Total revenues in Irish Ferries dipped by 2.4% to €52.3m in the four months to the end of April. Above: Image of the delayed German built 55,000grt cruiseferry W.B. Yeats.
#FerryNews - Irish Ferries parent company, Irish Continental Group (ICG) said its revenues rose by 1.4% to €96.4m in the first four months of the year. A trading statement from the company reported an increase in its consumer and freight…
Freight vehicle check-in booths at the Port of Holyhead: A solution for a 'seamless border' that is acceptable to Brexiteers remains elusive
#FerryNews - At the centre of the Conservative Party is an ongoing spat over post-Brexit customs arrangements that shows a solution remains out of reach. As the Daily Post writes, Theresa May’s preferred new “customs partnership” model was instantly shot…
EUROPE DAY: Close up of the bow of Brittany Ferries chartered ropax Connemara which today (lunchhour) departed on the new first ever 'direct' Ireland-Spain ferry route service: Cork-Santander, the city famous for its cuisine is located in the northern region of Cantabria. The 500 passenger/195 vehicle ropax is the first ferry to link Ireland with two mainland continental countries, France and Spain. In recent years there had been an Ireland-Spain service (albeit via France) operated by LD Lines.
#FerryNews - Europe Day aptly coincided with Brittany Ferries albeit delayed start of the first ever direct Ireland-Spain ferry service when Connemara departed Cork at lunchhour today bound for Santander, writes Jehan Ashmore. Almost berthed adjacently to Ringaskiddy Ferry Terminal…
Swedish operator, Stena Line outlines its yearly overview: 'A Sustainable Journey'
#FerryNews - Swedish based operator, Stena Line which operates services across northern Europe continues to deliver on its ambitious sustainability strategy. This involves 15% lower sulphur emissions, reduced plastic on board and a decreased number of accidents among the seagoing…
The location of the proposed coach park at the former fastferry (HSS Stena Explorer as above) terminal in Dún Laoghaire Harbour.
#DublinBay -  A transport company based in the UK reports The Times, is involved in a planning row over the proposed use of the former ferry terminal in Dún Laoghaire Harbour as a coach park. Go-Ahead, which recently secured contracts…

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!

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

DBSC
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

corkweek sidebutton
tokyo sidebutton
roundireland sidebutton
wave regatta
sovscup sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating