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New Year Storms Cause Cancelled Ferry Sailings
#CancelledSailings – Only days into the New Year sees the return of bad weather as storm force winds and gales batter the coast, forcing fast-ferry operated sailings to be cancelled today.  On the Dublin Port-Holyhead route, Irish Ferries fast-ferry Jonathan…
Ferry Refit Brings Added Passenger Capacity and Facilities
#FerryRefit- Stena Adventurer, one of two Stena Line ferries operating the Dublin Port-Holyhead route has completed an extensive refurbishment which includes increased passenger capacity. The refit, which sees enhanced and additional passenger facilities, has enabled the Stena Adventurer to increase…
Severe Weather Disrupts Sailings and for Christmas Eve
#CancelledSailings - As storms force winds and gales continue to disrupt Christmas travel plans, some Irish Sea ferry sailings are cancelled today and on Christmas Eve. To confirm the latest sailing updates it is advisable to visit the following ferry…
Bad Weather Continues to Disrupt Christmas Sailings
#CancelledSailings - As storms force winds and gales continue to batter the coast, some ferry sailings have been cancelled on the Irish Sea. Travellers are advised to check for updates on the latest sailing information from operator websites, in addition…
Epsilon Enters Irish Ferries Service
#EnterEpsilon – Irish Ferries chartered ro-pax ferry Cartour Epsilon completed her commercial maiden voyage this morning, sailing between Holyhead and Dublin Port, writes Jehan Ashmore. As previously reported, the delays of the Italian flagged ferry on entering Irish Sea service…
High Seas and Cancelled Ferry Sailings
#CancelledSailings - Due to adverse weather conditions, some ferry sailings across the Irish Sea have been cancelled today and some crossings tomorrow remain in doubt. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Irish Ferries new chartered ro-pax ferry 'Epsilon' which was due…
Catch the Last Ferry to France and Return Home for Christmas
#ChristmasFerry - Celtic Link Ferries are operating the last sailing between Ireland and France before Christmas with a sailing on Saturday 21 December departing at 18:00. The low-fares ferry company sail directly between Rosslare and Cherbourg. So to catch this…
Manx-Dublin Night-time Sailings Reopen for Festive Season
#IOMferry – Seasonal sailings between Isle of Man and Dublin Port are timetabled for next weekend (21-22 Dec.) with night-time crossings made in both directions. Once again, Ben-My-Chree now in her 15th year of service, operates these winter Douglas-Dublin round…
‘Epsilon’ Delayed Debut on Dublin Service to Start Next Week
#Epsilon – Irish Ferries cite fleet dry-docking and 'operational reasons' for the delays in introducing 'Epsilon' which is to boost additional peak capacity over the Christmas season, writes Jehan Ashmore. As previously reported, Epsilon was to have made her debut…
Christmas Mystery Discount Giveaway from P&O Ferries
#MysteryDiscount – With the holiday season underway, P&O Ferries, has launched a surprise discount giveaway for all passengers travelling between Scotland and Northern Ireland. Passengers can book their travel for 2014 on the Larne-Cairnryan/Troon routes and will receive a discount…
First Ever Ferry Service from Ireland to Spain Announced
#ferry – Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has welcomed the second significant announcement of a new ferry route into Ireland in a matter of weeks, after LD Ferries confirmed a weekly service from western France and northern…
New Third Dublin Route Ferry Completes Repositioning Voyage from Italy
#EpsilonArrives– Epsilon's first visit to Dublin Port last night completes the end of her repositioning voyage from Sicily last week, which included a call via Gibraltar, writes Jehan Ashmore. The three-year charter of Epsilon to Irish Ferries is expected to see…
French Routes Ro-Pax Rival Sisters Meet in Rosslare Harbour
#NewFerry – Irish Ferries chartered ro-pax Epsilon called to Rosslare Europort from Cherbourg this morning, her arrival to Irish waters follows a repositioning voyage starting almost a week ago from Sicily, writes Jehan Ashmore. Under the command of Captain Paul…
New Ferry ‘Epsilon’ Underway on Final Leg to Irish Waters
#NewFerry – 'Epsilon' Irish Ferries new ro-pax ferry continues her voyage to Ireland as she rounds Land's End tonight having called today to Cherbourg for berthing trials, writes Jehan Ashmore. The call to Normandy represents the first of three ports…
HSS Fastcraft Back for Christmas
#HSSreturns – The festive season will bring thousands of people driving home for Christmas with the return of the HSS Stena Explorer on the Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire service for 12 days. The fastcraft's Christmas service on the Stena Line route will…
Irish Ferries 'Epsilon' off Portugal Heads for France for Berthing Trials
#NewFerry – 'Epsilon' the new ro-pax ferry on charter to Irish Ferries is currently off the Portuguese coast heading to Cherbourg for berthing trials, prior to making her debut on the Irish Sea, writes Jehan Ashmore. The Italian flagged 26,375…

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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