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Tynwald (Manx Parliament) has approved £38m of the Isle of Man's government funding for the (ferry terminal) development AFLOAT adds at the Princes Dock site in Liverpool, England.
Manx government funding has been approved for a £38m passenger ferry terminal in Liverpool despite costs spiralling by more than a fifth. The project according to BBC News, which received planning permission in April, will cost £6.5m more than originally estimated.…
On the bridge: Red Funnel's Thomas Weise, Commander and John Singleton, Chief Officer, celebrate Red Jet 7's one year anniversary of service AFLOAT adds on the Southampton-Isle of Wight (West Cowes) route. The ferry operator founded in 1861 has operated Hi-Speed craft over the past 50 years which also is to be celebrated with a Red Funnel Fireworks display on 16th August during Cowes Week. The world famous regatta event which began in 1826 is held on Solent waters.
Afloat has followed the launch of an Irish Sea shipyard built freight ferry Red Kestrel onto an Isle of Wight service for Red Funnel which also operates Hi-Speed passenger catamaran, Red Jet 7 which today marked one-year of service on…
The new Spike Island ferry operated by Doyle Shipping
A new Cork Harbour ferry has been launched to Spike Island to coincide with the opening of a major new exhibition there, and it's hoped these initiatives will lead to a rise in tourist visitor numbers writes Bob Bateman. The ferry, named…
Brexit ferry deal: Brittany Ferries was one of three suppliers which had a UK Government contract to provide extra ferry services AFLOAT adds on the English Channel to the EU through ports in France. Above AFLOAT adds is Brittany Ferries Roscoff-Plymouth serving Armorique (seen here in Cork Harbour) earlier this season having stood in on the Irish route linking Roscoff while flagship Pont-Aven underwent major repairs.
The UK government's Brexit ferry programme was "rushed and risky", according to a cross-party group of MPs, who confirmed the botched project had cost £85m. As BBC News reports a procurement process to provide extra ferry services was held in…
Starboard funnel of Isle of Arran, an Ardrossan - Arran ferry departs Brodick on the island located on the Firth of Clyde in south-west Scotland. See link below to related story on controversy surrounding Arran's new terminal. AFLOAT adds the veteran ferry (built 1984) also operates a seasonal-only service from Ardrossan linking Campbeltown, Mull of Kintyre, a mere 10 nautical miles from the Ulster coastline along Co. Antrim.
A Scottish ferry master with decades of experience sailing on the west coast has hit out at the management of the lifeline service and the “inadequacy” of current quayside infrastructure. As pressure mounts on the islands according to The Herald,…
One of the ports included in the joint €2.6m 4-year project of Irish-Welsh ports is Milford Haven in south Wales where AFLOAT adds the ferry from Rosslare, Isle of Inishmore is seen off Neyland on the Welsh estuary while approaching Pembroke.
An Irish and Welsh project is seeking to unlock the cultural potential of the Irish ports of Dublin and Rosslare, and the Welsh ports of Holyhead, Fishguard and Pembroke Dock. The research according to the NewRossStandard, will explore the cultures,…
The British-Irish Council summit meeting which was held in Manchester
The Irish Examiner writes that the Taoiseach has said that a no-deal Brexit would have a severe impact on the Holyhead/Dublin trade route. Speaking at the 20th anniversary of the British-Irish Council (BIC) in Manchester, Leo Varadkar said Ireland would…
IOM Steam-Packet's annual 'Round the Island' cruise took place last weekend when ropax Ben-My-Chree with 300 sightseers on board the four-hour cruise experienced stunning views to include Peel Castle.  Afloat adds the 11th century castle is perched on St. Patrick's Isle located on the west Manx coastline.
Around 300 passengers enjoyed spectacular views of the Isle of Man’s coastline on this year’s Ben-my-Chree round-the-island cruise which was held last Saturday following Midsummer's day.  The ropax which the IOM Steam-Packet operates on the route to Heysham, England, departed…
The new ferry to Spike Island (from Cobh) in lower Cork Harbour has been operating since April 19th.
The number of visitors to Spike Island has risen to 25% so far in 2019, with the operation of a new, larger-capacity ferry just one of a number of developments at the Cork Harbour destination. The new ferry, reports EchoLive.ie,…
The main Channel Islands ferry Commodore Clipper AFLOAT has indentified berthed in St. Peter Port, Guernsey where owners Condor is based. The ropax is seen above with refrigerated containers which are used to transport potatoes 'Jersey Royals' (see link below) for export to the UK mainland and beyond. The 'Clipper' is a larger version of the Isle of Man Steam Packet's Ben-My-Chree.
Brittany Ferries is reportedly considering buying Channel Islands based operator Condor Ferries. The French company which operates ferries between the UK, France and Spain, has confirmed to ITV News an announcement is expected later today (yesterday, 24 June). The owner…
Rival ferry operators AFLOAT adds berthed at Rosslare Europort consist of Irish Ferries Isle of Inishmore serving Pembroke, Wales in addition Stena Line's veteran ferry Stena Europe (Fishguard route) currently in Turkey at a dry-dock undergoing a major career extension refit and upgrade. Stena Line are now the only operator linking the south-east port with mainland continental Europe (to Cherbourg, France) following Irish Ferries decision last year to withdraw two direct services linking Normandy and Brittany. In 2014 Irish Ferries launched the Dublin-Cherbourg route.
The Government has paid €1.6 million for a site near Rosslare EuroPort where State inspectors will carry out checks on UK imports in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The purchase price paid by the Office of Public Works (OPW)…
A Visentini-class ropax Afloat adds likewise of Connemara (above) is to be chartered as the third type of this Italian built series to join Brittany Ferries when it is introduced in November. The charter is to deliver greater flexibility to a route network that connects Ireland, France, Spain and the UK.
A one-year charter by Brittany Ferries of an additional ropax ship is being finalised ahead of the 2020 season. The ropax will be operated by Brittany Ferries from November 2019 until November 2020. The goal is to deliver additional flexibility…
Crew members from Stena Line who Volunteer for Mercy Ships
Following another successful volunteer program in 2018, two more employees from a ferry company are preparing for a three-month adventure, joining the Mercy Ships hospital ship ‘Africa Mercy’. In addition to fundraising and raising awareness for the humanitarian NGO, Stena…
Former Aran Islands passenger ferry Queen of Aran II has recently been rebranded in CalMac corporate livery following Argyll Ferries incorporation into the operator's Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service contract earlier this year.
A former Aran Islands passenger-only ferry, Argyll Flyer has returned with a new corporate livery following annual dry docking in Scotland to the Gourock-Dunoon route on the Clyde. Afloat adds the former Queen of Aran II was custom built for…
An AFLOAT photo taken in 2016 of Caledonian Isles berthed at Brodick, Arran on the Firth of Clyde, when work astern of the 1,000 passenger ferry was underway to construct a new ro-ro linkspan and terminal. The redeveloped and repositioned harbour was completed last year when it opened in March 2018.
On the Isle of Arran in Scotland, business owners have vented their fury over the loss of revenue and disruption to trade they say has been caused by the increasing unreliability of the island’s lifeline ferry service. Islanders have told…
Port of Galway CEO Conor O'Dowd in front of a regular visitor to the city's Docks, the Corrib Fisher. AFLOAT adds the James Fisher Everard tanker operates from Whitegate Oil Refinery, Cork Harbour which was previously served by Galway Fisher.
Ferries from Galway City to the Aran Islands will after a lenghtly absence make their return to Galway Docks – with the announcement that Island Ferries will begin operating the service from next year. According to the Connacht Tribune from…

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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