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Early Start for 'Ferry Fortnight'
#FERRY NEWS – St.Patrick's Day coincides with the start of the UK's annual National Ferry Fortnight (17-30 March) campaign which includes the participation of over 50 routes, including those operating on the Irish Sea, writes Jehan Ashmore. This year's event…
Captain Charged with Drink Offence After Belfast Lough Collision
#FERRY NEWS - The captain of the cargo ship Union Moon, who was arrested after his vessel collided with a passenger ferry in Belfast Lough, has been charged with 'excess alcohol by the master of a ship'. BBC News reports that…
Captain Arrested after Belfast Lough Collision
#FERRY NEWS - The captain of the 1,500 tonnes cargo vessel Union Moon which was involved in a collision with the passenger ferry Stena Feronia in Belfast Lough last night, has been arrested by police, according to BBC News. An…
Rising Costs Scuttle ICG's Ferry Profits
#FERRY NEWS – The Irish Continental Group (ICG) operators of ferry division Irish Ferries, said today its pre-tax profit for last year fell by 30 per cent to €28.2 million on the back of higher fuel costs, reports The Irish…
Vessels Collide in Belfast Lough
#FERRY NEWS – A passenger ferry and cargo vessel collided in Belfast Lough last night and there are no reports of any injuries. The incident happened close to the Fairway buoy about a mile and a half from shore between…
Countdown to the Return of the HSS
#FERRY NEWS-A month from today sees the resumption of fast-ferry sailings on the Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead route, operated by Stena Line's HSS Stena Explorer, writes Jehan Ashmore. The 120 minute central-corridor route closed in mid-September due to consistent high operating costs…
Sister Powers On to Liverpool Route
#FREIGHT FERRY NEWS- Seatruck Power (2011/19,722grt) made her debut on the Dublin-Liverpool route last week, bringing an additional boost to freight capacity and follows her sister which only entered service in December, writes Jehan Ashmore. The newbuild joins the leadship…
French Routes Rivals Vie for Market-Share
#FERRY NEWS- Established ferry operators on routes to France are gearing –up for market share with the first battle for 2012 targeting the Spring Easter period, with recent T.V. advert campaigns launched by Irish Ferries and Brittany Ferries, writes Jehan…
Fastnet Line Closes For Good
#FERRY NEWS - The Fastnet Line ferry service between Cork and Swansea is to close with the loss of 78 jobs. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the operator had been in examinership since last November, and a restructured business plan…
Cork-Swansea Ferry Firm Must Secure €1m
#FERRY NEWS - The operators of the Celtic Sea ferry route between Cork-Swansea need to secure over €1m in investment today in order to save the company after being thrown a €300,000 funding lifeline by Cork's local authorities. Cork City…
€500k Sought to Restart Cork-Swansea Ferry Link
#FERRY NEWS - Approximately €500,000 is to be sought from three local authorities in the south-west region so to help restart the Cork-Swansea route which was served by the M.V. Julia (1982/22,161grt) until sailings ceased in November last year. Representatives…
Ferry Operator Consider Court Finding
#FERRY NEWS – Senior managers in Stena Line are considering today the implications of a Labour Court recommendation that it increase redundancy terms for 39 workers at its Dún Laoghaire Harbour operation, the Irish Times reports. The Labour Court rejected…
Another Good Performance From Seatruck
#FREIGHT FERRY - The third of four newbuilds, Seatruck Performance was launched at the FGS Flensburg Yard, Germany, last week, according to The Motorship. The first of the newbuildings, Seatruck Progress, is now operating on the Dublin-Liverpool route. The second…
Irish Ferries 'Flagship' Returns to Dublin Route
#FERRIES - Ulysses arrived fresh from refit on the Dublin-Holyhead route yesterday after annual dry-docking at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, writes Jehan Ashmore. As previously reported on Alfoat.ie the Irish Ferries 'flagship' sailings on the central corridor route (also served by…
New Dates for National Ferry Fortnight
#FERRY FORTNIGHT - This year's 'National Ferry Fortnight' organised by the Passenger Shipping Association is to be brought forward in March instead of May, according to TravelWeekly.co.uk. The annual event which is used to promote and increase awareness of the…
Bad Weather Continues to Disrupt Ferry Sailings
#FERRIES - As the adverse weather continues, ferry services across the Irish Sea remain affected, with several crossings cancelled, writes Jehan Ashmore. Irish Ferries 08.05hrs sailing this morning from Dublin to Holyhead operated by Isle of Inishmore, departed over three…

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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