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Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
The routine Passage East ferry, Frazer Tintern (above as the FBD Tintern) which was about to undergo annual dry-docking overhaul was forced to re-enter service yesterday on the Waterford estuary link in the lead-up to the busy St. Patrick's Bank Holiday weekend.
#FerryNews - Attempts to operate the Passage East Ferry service in Waterford Estuary were beset with bad weather recently and mechanical issues however sailings resumed service yesterday afternoon, writes Jehan Ashmore. The routine ferry, Frazer Tintern links Passage East on…
High-Speed Craft HSC Westpac Express is to take on the name Dublin Swift, which Irish Ferries use for marketing purposes of the current craft Jonathan Swift. This HSC is to be replaced on the Dublin-Holyhead route when the newcomer enters service in April.
#FerryNews - Dublin Swift, the marketing name Irish Ferries use for Jonathan Swift which has been sold to Spanish operators, has been put to use again albeit as the new name given to a replacement high-speed craft, writes Jehan Ashmore. The…
White-hot! as plasma jets cut through steel-sheets marking the start of construction of Brittany Ferries newbuild cruiseferry, Honfleur to enter English Channel service in 2019 on the Portsmouth-Caen route.
#FerryNews - It was getting white-hot as plasma jets cut through sheets of steel for Brittany Ferries English Channel newbuild cruiseferry Honfleur at the FSG shipyard Germany, which is completing Irish Ferries W.B. Yeats due to enter service this summer. …
An artist's impression of Connemara, a Visentini built ropax ferry that will be chartered-in to operate the new direct Ireland-Spain route between Cork-Santander, the first ever ferry link between the countries. Operations are to start at the end of April based on schedule of two return-sailings a week
For the first time Brittany Ferries will not be operating a ship under the French flag when it starts its new ferry route, linking Cork directly to Spain, next month. As a result French maritime unions have accused Brittany Ferries…
Intended for service on the Dublin – Holyhead route in 2020, this second new vessel (after W.B. Yeats) will be the largest cruise ferry in the world in terms of vehicle capacity with accommodation for 1,800 passengers and crew. Vehicle decks (5,610 freight lane metres), capable of carrying 330 freight units per sailing – a 50% increase in peak freight capacity compared to current flagship Ulysses (see link below to Irish Times photo).
#FerryNews - Fuel costs increased and a weaker sterling led earnings at Irish Ferries owner Irish Continental Group (ICG) to fall 3 per cent, results for the year ended December 31st 2017 show. As The Irish Times reports, despite revenue…
Ropax Stena Horizon just hours after arrival into Dublin Port yesterday morning berthed at North Quay Extension (beside Tom Clarke/East-Link toll-bridge). The ferry sailed from Cornwall, UK after been refitted. Built by Visentini, Porto Vico, Italy, the same shipyard completed Irish Ferries chartered-in ropax Epsilon which too arrived yesterday into Dublin Bay (only eight minutes apart) having departed Cherbourg, France.
#FerryNews - As Afloat reported yesterday, ropax Stena Horizon starts Dublin-Holyhead sailings tonight to enable a fleemate to be drydocked, however additional freight-only capacity is already in place, writes Jehan Ashmore. The larger of the two routine ferries on the…
A murky morning however Stena Horizon is fresh from Falmouth, Cornwall having undergone a refit in dry-dock. The ropax ferry had sailed overnight from the UK and today was approaching Dublin Bay (above) bound for the capital port.
#FerryNews - Fresh from a Falmouth dry-docking, Stena Horizon arrived in Dublin Port today, not Rosslare from where the ropax routinely operates on the France route to Cherbourg, writes Jehan Ashmore. The reason for the call to the capital of…
On the Firth of Clyde, the Isle of Arran ferry Caledonian Isles underway from Ardrossan with the Scottish mainland in the background. The main Ardrossan-Brodick (Arran) ferry carried out trials in neighbouring Troon Harbour where the ro-ro terminal was recently upgraded.
#FerryNews - There are fears that the ferry operating to Arran, Scotland, was docking at Troon because of issues with Ardrossan Harbour have been quashed by Calmac. As the Herald reports, on Saturday, Calmac sparked debate when confirming that the…
The same shipyard that built Strangford Lough ferry M.V. Strangford II in 2016, Cammell Laird on Merseyside, has been contracted a £10m order for a ro-ro 'freight' ferry from a Isle of Wight operator, Red Funnel
#FerryNews - An Irish Sea shipbuilder, Cammell Laird, Birkenhead on Merseyside, has been contracted to build a £10m ro-ro 'freight' ferry for a Isle of Wight operator, Red Funnel The new ship according to a Red Funnel announcement, is designed…
Ro-ro ferry Aisling Gabrielle of Scenic Carlingford Ferry is seen underway from Greenore Co.Louth. The vessel is currently off-service for annual dry-docking though services remain operating using a relief ferry.
#FerryNews - Aisling Gabrielle, the ro-ro vessel that launched the first ever Carlingford Lough ferry service last year departed Arklow Port this morning for dry-docking purposes, writes Jehan Ashmore. The 44-vehicle Aisling Gabrielle opened the new cross-border service linking Greenore…
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…

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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