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Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
Irish Freight Transport Association (IFTA) says full impact of Brexit has still to be felt. IFTA also warned of disappearing supply chains, empty supermarket shelves and rising unemployment, and calls for a six month adjustment period.
A letter from the Irish Freight Transport Association to the Taoiseach warns of huge disruption in the coming weeks as the impact of Brexit fully takes hold of trade between Ireland, the UK and Europe. The letter, seen by RTÉ…
The British PM made the claims during a recent Liaison Committee meeting held in Lisbon, Portugal. Above a display sign at the North Wales Port of Holyhead which has two competing ferry operators (Irish Ferries and Stena Line) connecting Dubin Port.
The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told how (ferry) truckers bypassing north Wales is a sign of Brexit success. Speaking (yesterday) at a Liaison Committee with senior MP’s, Mr Johnson was asked about the Brexit related delays at the border.…
New (DFDS) ferry service ‘bumping’ lorries for vital imports of medicines and medical supplies. AFLOAT adds Rosslare Europort (above) on occasion of first arrival of 'Destination Gotland's' ferry Visby, operating in a freight-only mode while on charter for DFDS new route to Dunkirk, France, an alternative to post-Brexit  UK 'Landbridge' customs delays. Berthed alongside is ropax Stena Horizon and freight ro-ro Stena Foreteller (beyond) which made a debut in December on the Cherbourg route, however as Afloat reported today, a third ship, the brand new Stena Embla is to enter Stena Line service tonight to assist addressing capacity issues from hauliers on Ireland-mainland Europe routes. Afloat tracked the new 'E-Flexer' ropax arrival to the Wexford port this morning from Belfast from where it was originally to serve the Birkenhead (Liverpool) route.
Ferry capacity issues are building up on direct Ireland-mainland Europe routes as lorries avoiding Brexit checks through Britain are “bumped” to make way for vital imports of medicines and medical equipment. As The Irish Times writes, hauliers booked onto the…
Retail Northern Ireland said there are some issues around supply. Above in this AFLOAT file photo of lorries parked alongside a ferry berthed in Belfast Harbour having sailed across the North Channel route from Cairnryan, Scotland. The port (among 5 in N.I) has additional ro-ro freight /ferry routes linking Britain through the English ports of Heysham and (Birkenhead) Liverpool.
Northern Ireland retailers, RTE reports, are urging shoppers not to stockpile after problems with supplies left many shelves empty. Smaller retailers say they fear months of disruption because of confusion about arrangements for importing food products (into Northern Ports see…
Stena Embla on her berth in Belfast in early January
Stena Line’s newest addition to its fleet, the brand-new Stena Embla ferry will make its Irish Sea debut on the Rosslare-Cherbourg service. Originally scheduled for service on the Belfast-Liverpool route, due to the current Brexit related shift for direct routes…
Imports still delayed despite Revenue’s relaxation of customs rule to get goods moving (to supermarkets where there have been empty shelves). Above in this file scene of a Stena 'Superfast' ferry from Cairnryan, Scotland at Belfast Harbour. Note the partially open shell doors at the bow of the ferry.
Ferry lorry drivers are bringing imports into the State from Britain through Northern Ireland to avoid the Brexit customs and regulatory procedures at Dublin Port that have delayed shipments. Businesses moving goods from Britain have struggled to complete the necessary…
W.B. Yeats brings a boost in freight capacity as the giant ferry entered months earlier than scheduled on the Dublin Port -Cherbourg route .
W.B. Yeats, the largest ferry operating out of Dublin Port has switched from the Holyhead route to Dublin-Cherbourg due to the continued surge in freight demand on direct routes to France, writes Jehan Ashmore. The 165 freight accompanied unit capacity…
SUPPLY PROBLEMS: Stena Line temporarily cancels sailings on Dublin-Holyhead and Rosslare-Fishguard routes. Above: A ferry (Stena Adventurer) departing Holyhead, Wales for Dublin Port on January 1st. The operator is reviewing its Irish Sea schedules because of Brexit and Covid restrictions.
Ferry operator, Stena Line the largest on the Irish Sea, has cancelled 12 sailings over the coming five days due to travel restrictions, a post-Brexit decline in freight volumes and problems in supply chains. According to The Irish Times, Stena…
In the UK ministers urged the House of Lords to save a UK-Europe ferry link which the P&O ferry, Pride of York used to sail nightly from Hull to Zebrugge, Belgium. The 1987 built ferry could take up to 880 passengers and above is AFLOAT's close up view of the cruiseferry docked at the English North Sea port. The ferry was the largest passenger ship ever built in the UK since the former Cunard Line 'liner' Queen Elizabeth 2, otherwise best known as the 'QE2'. Both ships were built on the banks of the River Clyde, Scotland.
As Ireland-mainland Europe freight ferry capacity recently increased and this week's new route to France opened following start of the EU-UK 'Brexit' border, British ministers have urged the House of Lords to reinstate a passenger ferry route from Hull to Belgium.…
Boss Eamon Rothwell of ICG (operators of Irish Ferries) has said exporters will continue to opt for the ‘faster, cheaper’ UK landbridge to Europe. Above Afloat's photo of the forward section of W.B. Yeats berthed at Dublin Port with loading underway.
The CEO of the company that operates Irish Ferries has said that exporters will continue to use the ‘faster, cheaper’ UK landbridge between Ireland and mainland Europe despite Brexit. As reports, goods going between EU countries and Britain now…
The fast ropax vessel Visby operated the first 'inbound' sailing of DFDS new route from Dunkirk in northern France which arrived in Rosslare Europort last night at around 2200hrs. Visby was 'fully booked' with vital direct freight conveniently bypassing a post Brexit UK. In addition avoiding related UK/EU customs checks and potential traffic congestion.
The chartered Visby became the first freight-ferry of DFDS new Ireland-mainland Europe ro-ro route to operate the inaugural 'inbound' sailing from Dunkirk in France with an arrival in Rosslare Europort last night, writes Jehan Ashmore. As Afloat previously reported, the…
Stena Embla is the third E-Flexer ferry to be commissioned for Stena Line’s Irish Sea routes
Stena Line’s newest ferry addition to its fleet, the brand-new Stena Embla has arrived in Belfast. As Afloat reported earlier, Stena Embla is the third E-Flexer ferry to be commissioned for Stena Line’s Irish Sea routes in the last 12…
The newest Stena 'E-Flexer' series ropax Stena Embla was tracked by AFLOAT heading through the Irish Sea on New Year's Day and followed by a first arrival yesterday to Belfast Harbour from where it will enter service on the route to Birkenhead (Liverpool). Above the Chinese newbuild is seen taking bunkers from a tanker alongside while off the Spanish port of Algerciras during a month long delivery voyage from Asia.
Stena Embla the latest Chinese newbuild 'E-Flexer' class ropax completed a month-long delivery voyage to Europe where the ferry is to join sisters on the Irish Sea, writes Jehan Ashmore. The 40,050 gross tonnage newbuild built in Weihai, was tracked…
FULLY LOADED with freight trucks (incl. weather deck) on board DFDS Optima Seaways which made a maiden sailing this afternoon as the ropax departed the inner pier of Rosslare Eurport bound for Dunkirk (Dunkerque) in north France. Note the ungainly 'box' funnel however this more recent feature was to faciltate installation of 'scrubbers' to remove harmful emissions, as ferry operators in certain sea zones had to meet an EU Sulphur Directive.
As Afloat reported earlier today, the maiden sailing of DFDS new freight ferry ro-ro route linking Rosslare Europort and Dunkirk, France on mainland Europe, took place as scheduled this afternoon, writes Jehan Ashmore. A fully booked Optima Seaways, a 120…
The Scottish west coast shipyard of Ferguson Marine on the Clyde where Afloat adds in this file photo is hyprid newbuild ferries Glen Sannox and sister new build for operator CalMac.
In Scotland, a western based ferry boss has warned commercial operators will now be “nervous” of ordering new vessels from the Ferguson shipyard on the Clyde, amid the ongoing fallout from a contract to build two dual-fuel (ferries) to operate…
Operator DFDS freight (ropax) ferry Optima Seaways last Thursday on first arrival to Rosslare Europort carrying out berthing trials in advance of today's (14:00hrs) maiden sailing on the new direct route to Dunkirk, France. The 2,115 freight lane metres 'ropax'  built by the' Visentini' Shipyard, represents a series of varying but prolific such ships that the Italian yard has proved popular with shipping operators throughout Europe. In recent years the ropax was fitted with 'scrubbers' (see extended box funnel i.e. 'Maltese' Cross symbol) as set out by EU Sulphur Directive to reduce harmful emissions. In addition the funnel symbol remains while other fleetmates on DFDS Dover-Dunkirk/Calais routes (and beyond) received the operators name also displayed on the funnel casing.
The ferryport of Rosslare Europort is to mark another historic maritime milestone this afternoon as a new 'freight' ro-ro route linking Ireland and continental mainland Europe operated by DFDS is to start thus bypassing a post-Brexit UK, writes Jehan Ashmore. At…

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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