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Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
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.…
Irish Continental Group Record 61% Rise in Profit
The Irish Continental Group (ICG) which is the parent company of Irish Ferries, has warned of 'uncertainty' in 2011 due to higher fuel costs and the effects of the austerity measures in both the Irish and UK economies. ICG secured…
Superfast Sisterships for Stena's Northern Route
Stena Line are to introduce two chartered sisterships in the Autumn to coincide with the opening of a £80m ferryport near Cairnryan, which is to replace Stranraer, as the new Scottish port for their route to Belfast, writes Jehan Ashmore. At 30,285grt…
Anniversary Sailing Bound for the Rugby
Fastnet Line's 21,699 tonnes Julia which has been undergoing annual maintenance at a dry-dock in Swansea, is due to resume sailings for the 2011 season with a departure from the south Welsh port tomorrow night, writes Jehan Ashmore. The 1,500…
Enter European Endeavour
As the ro-pax European Endeavour enters the Mersey tonight, the 22,125grt vessel will mark her first round trip as the latest addition on P&O (Irish Sea) Liverpool-Dublin route, writes Jehan Ashmore. Built in 2000 the vessel can take 130 lorries…
Farewell to Former B+I Line Freight-Ferry
The ro-ro freight-ferry Norcape departed Dublin Port this evening for what is believed to be her last sailing operating under the colours of P&O (Irish Sea) and in which the 1979 built vessel originally served a career with B+I Line…
Celtic's French Ferry Figures
Single-route ferry operator, Celtic Link Ferries transported 60,000 passengers, despite last year's challenging economic conditions, writes Jehan Ashmore. Of that figure, some 48,000 were tourist passengers and the balance of 12,000 accounted for freight accompanied truck-drivers on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route.…
‘Proposed’ Cork-Spain Route Remains Under Review
The Port of Cork Company has announced that it is unlikely that the proposed new ferry service to Spain will commence in March, writes Jehan Ashmore. The port authority has advised those waiting to book their holidays on the planned Cork-Gijón…
Seatruck Sailings Start on Dublin-Heysham Route
It was a Valentine's Day start for Seatruck Ferries opening of the Dublin-Heysham freight-only route, writes Jehan Ashmore. Initiating the service, the port welcomed back a familiar vessel, the chartered Anglia Seaways which only a fortnight ago had operated the…
Irish Sea Ferry Deal Under Review
Stena Line's acquisition of DFDS Seaways Irish Sea services in December, has now been referred to the UK's Competition Commission by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The £40m ferry deal for two routes, Belfast-Birkenhead (run by two chartered ro-pax…
Seatruck to Re-Open Dublin-Heysham Route
Seatruck Ferries is to re-open the Dublin-Heysham route following the closure by DFDS Seaways of the freight-only service last month, writes Jehan Ashmore. The first sailing of the revived route is scheduled to depart Heysham next Monday at 02.00hrs and…
Stena Purchase Former Irish Sea Ferry
The Dublin Seaways, one of the two ro-pax sisters that served DFDS Seaways Dublin-Birkenhead route, which closed down last month, has been sold to Stena Line, writes Jehan Ashmore. DFDS Seaways sold the 21,856grt vessel to Stena North Sea Line…
DFDS Seaways Makes Final Irish Sea Departure
The Anglia Seaways became the last vessel of the DFDS Seaways fleet to depart Dublin yesterday, following the official closure of the operator's Irish Sea services at the weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore. In January DFDS announced the closure of the…
Irish Ferries Voted ‘Best Ferry’ On the Double
Irish Ferries scooped up two awards for the 'Best Ferry' title at two separate prize giving ceremonies held yesterday in Dublin. The first award was presented by the Irish Travel Trade News based on responses received from Irish travel industry…

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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