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Ulysses returns to service having had new propellers and new rudder components fitted
The MV Ulysses, the leading Irish Ferries freight and tourism vessel on the Dublin to Holyhead route, returns to Dublin today following an extensive dry dock investment at Cammell Laird shipyard in Merseyside. The four-week upgrade was undertaken to complete…
Port side profile of Stena Forecaster which transferred to the Irish Sea to begin Belfast-Liverpool (Birkenhead) service today
#ferries - On the Irish Sea Stena Line have transferred a ro-ro freightferry onto the Belfast-Liverpool (Birkenhead) route today.  The transfer of Stena Forecaster from Stena RoRo to the ferry firm is part of an ongoing development of the operators…
Following a 35 year absence the Liffey Ferry service was reinstated today reported The Irish Times which added operators confident after successful maiden voyage despite lack of passengers. AFLOAT adds the restoration of No.11 Liffey Ferry was a joint project carried out by the Dublin Port Company and Dublin City Council.
#ferries  - Dublin city had for the first time in 35 years, a new ferry service writes The Irish Times.  It was a cold, bright pre-dawn morning when the Dublin No 11 Liffey Ferry left its berth beside the MV…
On Channel 4 News (tonight) Arklow Shipping revealed that it had never agreed any contract (with Seaborne Freight) and blamed the UK government for pushing the deal through too fast. The Arklow Bank featured on the TV news and as AFLOAT adds the 'B' class short-sea trader cargoship is seen above docked in Dublin Port on this day exactly four years ago when berthed at the South Bank Quay.
#ferries - The UK Transport Secretary reports Channel 4 News, has been facing mounting calls for his resignation after he cancelled a £14 million contract with ferry company Seaborne Freight. The government pulled the rug on the contract yesterday after…
UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting. Downing Street said the prime minister had full confidence in the transport secretary. As for Jacob Rees-Mogg, a leading pro-Brexit Tory MP, suggested Arklow (Shipping) might have ended support (for Seaborne Freight) after political pressure in Ireland.
#ferries - UK prime minister Theresa May faced cross-party calls to sack her transport secretary, Chris Grayling, last night, after the calamitous collapse of a no-deal Brexit ferry contract handed to a company with no ships. As The Guardian reports,…
Arklow Shipping one of the backers of Seaborne Freight has withdrawn from the deal to operate the proposed Ramsgate-Ostend (Belgium) service. AFLOAT adds above is file photo of the Kent port where The Viking of Sally Line operated to Dunkirk, France until the late 1990's. Another operator TransEuropa Ferries also ran to Ostend between 1998 and 2013.
#ferries - RTE News reports that the UK's Department of Transport has cancelled a contract with a company to provide extra ferries in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Seaborne Freight was awarded a £13.8m…
WB Yeats arriving in Dublin Port
#ferries - Operator, Irish Ferries is being accused of using foreign crews to pay below the minimum wage. According to, SIPTU said the company's vessels it fly foreign flags and does not pay Irish minimum wage rates to foreign…
W.B. Yeats on inaugural day of commercial service (22nd January) at Holyhead Port, north Wales where details of next proposed dockside protest announced by UK transport union, RMT involves an Irish Ferries sailing bound for Dublin this Friday morning from the port on Anglesey.
#ferries - A UK transport union is continuing its programme of objections to ferry and other shipping operators who sail under flags of convenience and skirt around UK employment laws and rates of pay with a protest which will take…
Brittany Ferries says its newbuild Honfleur (CGI image) is not to enter service (Portsmouth-Caen) this season from German shipyard FSG as financial penalties have been imposed due to late delivery of W.B. Yeats
#ferries - In another statement issued by Brittany Ferries, the operator has announced it is aware of press reports regarding financial setbacks at FSG, the German shipyard where its next ship, Honfleur is under construction. The statement continued, FSG has…
Powering up electric waterways  - ElectriCity’s Volvo Penta-powered electric vessel will be the first fully-electric ferry in the city able to complete longer, multi-stop routes along the river
In the next phase of Gothenburg’s drive to connect its residents with a seamless citywide low emission commuting network, a Volvo Penta-powered electric ferry service is being introduced into the ElectriCity transport ecosystem. Building on the growing success of Gothenburg’s…
In the event of a No Deal Brexit, Armorique which operates Plymouth-Roscoff,  is one of three Brittany Ferries English Channel routes that form part of the UK Government's initiative to spend on contracts that would require an increase in additional capacity. AFLOAT adds Armorique that links Cornwall and Brittany is the first in the French ferry fleet to receive the new livery scheme.
#ferries - Brittany Ferries last week released a statement (below) to reassure passengers concerned by changes following the UK Government's £108m spending initiative to use ferries to ease potential problems in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The French operator…
Flying the Red Ensign is the London registered Stena Adventurer underway in Dublin Port. The ferry is one of two operating to Holyhead, Wales which is the UK's second busiest ferryport after Dover.  AFLOAT also adds Stena Nordica this week began taking over the roster of the second ferry, Stena Superfast X which is undergoing annual dry-docking in H&W, Belfast.
#ferries - Ferry giant, Stena based in Sweden and tanker firm Stolt-Nielsen which is Bermuda registered, are reviewing their UK-registered ships ahead of Britain’s departure from the EU, the two leading transport companies told Reuters separately on Wednesday (yesterday). Such…
W.B. Yeats arriving in Dublin Port following a delivery voyage last month. A week ago, today, the luxury cruiseferry entered service on the Holyhead route and is to be followed by operating Dublin-Cherbourg from mid-March.
#ferries - Irish Ferries have expressed its disappointment with the issuing of notices by the National Transport Authority (NTA) yesterday in respect of cancellations that arose following the delayed arrival of the new W.B. Yeats ship. These cancellations were due…
The twin vehicle ramps at the stern of W.B. Yeats which berthed in Alexandra Basin, Dublin prior to launching sailings (last Tuesday) on the UK landbridge route between the Irish capital and Holyhead, north Wales. In mid-March, the cruiseferry is to operate Dublin-Cherbourg, connecting Ireland directly with mainland continental Europe.
#ferries - The National Transport Authority has announced its decision concerning cancellation of WB Yeats sailings by Irish Ferries last summer and which has led the NTA today to serve notices on the operator that has two months to comply regarding…
Stena chief warned about 'significant disruption' but former Brexit minister said 'teething problems' could be tackled. Above AFLOAT adds is Stena Superfast X berthed at Holyhead, north Wales along with regular bunker tanker, Keewhit.
#ferries - Stena Line's boss reports NorthWalesLive, has warned about “relatively significant disruption” at ports in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The head of Swedish ferry operator Stena AB - parent company of Stena Line - fears disruption in…
Andrew McDowell, European Investment Bank Vice President and Eamonn Rothwell, CEO of Irish Continental Group pictured at Dublin Port. Afloat adds the new W.B. Yeats is seen underway having departed the ferry terminal 1 at the start of the maiden commercial sailing to Holyhead, north Wales.
#ferries - The European Investment Bank is providing EUR 155 million to finance two new passenger and vehicle ships for the Irish Continental Group subsidiary Irish Ferries. The announcement was made as the first of the new cruiseferries, W.B. Yeats…

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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