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Dublin Port Outlines Plans for First Dedicated Cruise Terminal
# CRUISE SHIPS - Dublin Port's 'draft' masterplan which was unveiled to the public today, includes a proposal to develop the first dedicated cruise terminal in the capital port. A site at North Wall Quay Extension has been chosen to…
Restructured Fastnet Line Reduce Year Round Service to Seasonal Schedule
#FERRY – Following yesterdays High Court appointment of an interim examiner to the Fastnet Line Group, the ferry operator has issued two statements (click here) and an apology to passengers with the immediate closure of sailings, writes Jehan Ashmore. As…
High Court Appoint Examiner to Cork-Swansea Operator
#Ferry – The High Court has appointed an interim examiner to the Fastnet Line group of companies, which operates the M.V. Julia (1981/22,161grt) on the Cork-Swansea ferry service, according to report on RTE.ie The 154m German built ferry which can…
Seatruck Ferries Second Ro-Ro Newbuild Launched
#FERRY Two months after the launch of Seatruck Progress, the first of four ro-ro newbuilds for Seatruck Ferries, a second vessel was launched for the Irish Sea freight-ferry only operator, according to Heavy-Lift. Seatruck Power joins her sister as part…
Brittany Ferries End of Season Sailings
Brittany Ferries last Cork-Roscoff sailing for this year is scheduled for this weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore. Passengers intending to travel on the last inward bound sailing from the Breton port which departs tomorrow (Friday) 28th at 21.15hrs (French time). The…
Award Winning Stena Line Look Forward to New Northern Route
Stena Line has been voted 'Best Ferry Company' at the annual Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Awards which was hosted by TV personality Eamonn Homes. The accolade comes in advance to next month's opening of the company's new Belfast-Cairnryan ferry…
Celtic Horizon Officially Enters Service
Celtic Link Ferries newest ferry Celtic Horizon was officially launched onto the Irish-French service with a reception held on board the 27,522 tonnes vessel at her homeport of Rosslare Europort on Monday, writes Jehan Ashmore. Minister for Public Expenditure and…
Farewell as Stena Line’s ‘Lynx’ Fast-Ferry Sets Sail for South Korea
Irish Sea fast-ferry Stena Lynx III (1996/4,113grt) which has been laid-up in Dun Laoghaire Harbour since last month has been sold to interests in South Korea. Renamed Sunflower 2 and flying the flag of the Far-Eastern nation, she departed yesterday…
Strong Winds Cancel Central Corridor Fast-Ferry Sailings
Strong winds on the Irish Sea, has led to cancellations of Irish Ferries Dublin-Holyhead fast-ferry Jonathan Swift today, though passengers will be accommodated on the cruiseferry Ulysses. Tomorrow mornings fast-ferry sailings from Dublin and the corresponding return sailing from Holyhead,…
Wexford Welcomes New Irish-French Ferry Celtic Horizon
Celtic Link Ferries new ro-pax Celtic Horizon made an inaugural appearance as she docked in Rosslare ferryport this morning, having completing her delivery voyage from Sicily, writes Jehan Ashmore. As the 27,552 gross tonnes Celtic Horizon last night headed towards…
Stranraer-Belfast Ferry Left Adrift Off Scottish Coast
A passenger ferry heading to Northrrn Ireland was left adrift off the coast of western Scotland early yesterday after suffering engine failure. http://www.afloat.ie/port-news/ferry-news/ The Press Association reports that the Stena Navigator was en route from Stranraer to Belfast when both…
Manx Seasonal Visitor to Dublin Port
Dublin Port-Douglas sailings in the winter months are operated by Ben-My-Chree, a conventional ferry that only calls to the Irish capital on a handful of sailings during this period, writes Jehan Ashmore. The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (IOMSPCo)…
New Celtic Link Ferry on Re-Positioning Voyage off Africa
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Celtic Link Ferries look forward to the arrival of a new ro-pax ferry Celtic Horizon (photo), which is currently sailing on the shipping lanes off Algeria, having departed from Palermo, writes Jehan Ashmore. Celtic Horizon…
P&O Close Seasonally Operated Fast-Ferry Services
P&O Ferries seasonally-only operated fast-ferry sailings between Larne-Cairnryan and also to Troon closed yesterday, leaving only two fast-ferries running Irish Sea cross-channel routes this winter, writes Jehan Ashmore. The fast-ferry Express (1998/5,902grt) which was first introduced on P&O Ferries North…
Irish Sea Cross Channel Fast-Ferry Services On Declining Trend
With the recent closure of Stena Line fast-ferry services from Dun Laoghaire and Rosslare, this leaves just four such services operating this winter between Ireland and Britain. By November only half of these services will be running on routes out…
Lough Foyle Ferry Service To Cease
The twenty minute car ferry service that carried its two millionth passenger this year is to cease operations from Sunday week, according to a report in today's Irish Times. Funding talks have broken down for the Greencastle-Magilligan 44-vehicle capacity ferry the…

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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