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Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
Seasonal Services Set Sail ‘Four’ France
Seasonal sailings on Irish Ferries Rosslare-Roscoff port route start tomorrow, this brings an increase in the number of services to France from three to four, writes Jehan Ashmore. The 16-hour route is served by the 31,000 tonnes cruiseferry Oscar Wilde which…
National Ferry Fortnight: 'Seas the Opportunity'
Ferry companies operating throughout Britain and Ireland are gearing-up for the third annual National Ferry Fortnight which is to run between 14-28 May, writes Jehan Ashmore. The fortnight is to highlight the advantages of sea, rather than air travel and…
Celtic Link Ferries Look Forward to New Ferry
Celtic Link Ferries are to introduce a replacement ferry on their Rosslare-Cherbourg port route later this year, writes Jehan Ashmore.The current ship serving the route to France is a modern 26,500 tonnes ro-pax ferry Norman Voyager which entered service for…
Former US Navy Fast-Craft Re-opens Seasonal Dublin Route
A former US Navy vessel USS Joint Venture (HSV-XI) is set to return for a second season operating Douglas-Dublin Port sailings this Friday, writes Jehan Ashmore. The first sailing of the year from the Isle of Man sees the use…
Ulysses Celebrates 10 Years of Irish Sea Service
The flagship of the Irish Ferries fleet Ulysses celebrates her 10th anniversary on the Dublin-Holyhead port route, writes Jehan Ashmore. At 50,938 gross tonnes, the cruiseferry which has space for 1,875 passengers and 1,342 vehicles, remains the largest ferry operating…
Irish Authorities Approve Stena / DFDS Merger
The €40m acquisition of DFDS Seaways by Stena AB through its subsidiary Stena Line (UK) Ltd last December has been approved by the Irish regulatory authority, though its UK counterpart awaits a decision, writes Jehan Ashmore. The Irish Competition Authority's…
Ferry Falls from Crane in Galway Docks
An investigation is underway into an incident in Galway Docks this morning after a ferry being loaded onto a cargo ship snapped, injuring three men, according to news reports. A sling that was being used to lift the ferry onto…
Irish Sea 'Racehorse' Returns
A former Irish Sea freight ferry which was originally named with an equine-theme, returned to the Dublin-Liverpool port route yesterday and coincides with this Saturday's Aintree Grand National, writes Jehan Ashmore. The entry of the chartered Norman Trader onto P&O…
Stena's Southern Sailings
Sailings on Stena Line's Rosslare-Fishguard port route remain for freight-users only until the passenger ferry returns from essential maintenance this week, writes Jehan Ashmore. The passenger ferry Stena Europe is currently in dry-dock at the A&P Group's Falmouth facility and is…
Passenger Ship Obligations to Assist in Search & Rescue
The Department of Transport's latest marine notice pertains to the requirements for passenger vessels in assisting with search and rescue services. All passenger ships on international routes - including ferries and cruise liners - are obliged to have a plan…
HSS Sailings Resumed
This year's first ferry sailing of the HSS Stena Explorer from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead was disrupted yesterday due to 'technical reasons'. The HSS (High Speed Service) fastcraft was scheduled to depart Dun Laoghaire at 13.15hrs but the sailing was…
Brittany Ferries Roscoff Route to Re-open
Brittany Ferries seasonal service between Cork (Ringaskiddy) and Roscoff starts this Saturday, writes Jehan Ashmore. As usual the £100m 'flagship' Pont-Aven re-opens the 11-hour route with the first inbound sailing from the Breton port arriving at Ringaskiddy ferry terminal at…
Stena to Re-Introduce HSS this Week
Stena Line's HSS fast-ferry the Stena Explorer will be re-introduced on its Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead route this Friday, writes Jehan Ashmore. The HSS (High Speed Service) operated 19,638 tonnes craft will run between 1 April to 13 September to…
Brittany Ferries Re-Open Bilbao Route
A ferry service to Spain is to start today, which had been previously served by the Irish Continental Group (ICG) owned cruiseferry Pride of Bilbao, writes Jehan Ashmore. Brittany Ferries 32,728 tonnes Cap Finistere will re-open the Portsmouth-Bilbao route following…
Irish Ferries Signs 10-Year Contract On Welsh Route
In the same week that Irish Continental Line (ICG) Group released end of year figures for 2010, their subdidiary Irish Ferries recorded a near 8% rise in passenger volumes and an announcement of a 10 year deal to continue operating…
HSS Fast-Craft to Return on Dun Laoghaire Route
With just over a fortnight to go to resumption of Stena Line's Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead fast-craft sailings on 1 April, the route to Wales is to see the larger HSS Stena Explorer return instead of Stena Lynx III, writes Jehan Ashmore.…

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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