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Special €1 France-Ireland Sailing for St. Patrick’s Day 2014
#Sailfor€1 – As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Celtic Link Ferries are re-launching a special single sailing fare of just €1 on 16 March 2014 between France-Ireland in advance of St. Patrick's Day. Celtic Link Ferries are offering passengers this unique…
Final Fortnight of CalMac’s New Pilot Campbeltown-Ardrossan Ferry Service
#NewFerryRoute – Caledonian MacBrayne's first season running the new route linking Campbeltown (Mull of Kintyre) and Ardrossan (Firth of Clyde) is to end sailings within a fortnight, writes Jehan Ashmore. As previously reported the Campeltown-Ardrossan route began operating in May. …
Summer Draws to a Close on Continental Seasonal-Only Routes
#SeasonalServices- As the summer holiday season draws to a close on Irish-French routes, a seasonal-only service closes next week while another competitor stretches sailings to early November.  Irish Ferries Rosslare-Roscoff route's last sailing from the Irish port is next Thursday,19…
Last Chance to Book Brittany Ferries Autumn Getaway
#BrittanyFerries – Brittany Ferries this year celebrate 35 years of Cork-Roscoff service currently served by flagship Pont-Aven, which every weekend makes a round-trip up to early November, writes Jehan Ashmore. Pont-Aven arrives every Saturday morning and departs in the afternoon…
Revamped Chartered Irish Ferry Returns to New Zealand Service
#InterIslander- The flagship Interislander ferry Kaitaki has returned to Nez Zealand waters following a $4.5 million face-lift, writes the Dominion Post. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the charter of the Irish Continental Group 1,650 passenger car ferry Kaitaki had departed…
Seasonal-Only HSS Service Cease Sailings
#StenaHSS – Stena Line's HSS fastcraft operated Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead route ceased sailings last Tuesday on the seasonal-only service, writes Jehan Ashmore. The central Irish Sea corridor route had been running since Easter and operated by the Stena Explorer, the last…
Irish Ferries Extend Length of Time Ashore for French Mini-Cruise Passengers
#MiniCruises – Since our report earlier this week regarding Irish Ferries French mini-cruises from Rosslare to Cherbourg and Roscoff, the ferry operator has announced that the length of time ashore for passengers has been extended to almost a week. Under…
ICG Chartered Ferry Faces Delayed Refit Return to 'Interislander'
#Interislander – Irish Continental Group's Kaitaki which is on charter to New Zealand operator Interislander service is expected to be at least two weeks late.  The delay in re-entering of Kaitaki on the Cook Strait route follows unforeseen problems with…
Irish Ferries French Mini Cruises to Set Sail
#MiniCruises – Irish Ferries mini cruises to Cherbourg or Roscoff resume on Thursday 29 August and they provide an opportunity for a relaxing break away and to stock up on value wines and beers. Mini cruises are of two nights…
Galway Bay Fast Ferry Returns For Two-Week Trial
#GalwayBay - The Ballyvaughan Bay Hop fast ferry service between Galway and Clare will return for a two-week trial this September, as the Galway Independent reports. Last year the ferry link across Galway Bay from Ballyvaughan in Co Clare to…
Irish Owned New Zealand Ferry Gets Makeover in Australia
#Interislander – Owned by the Irish Continental Group (ICG), the Interislander flagship Kaitaki set sail for Brisbane, Australia late last month for a 6 week dry dock. As previously reported the New Zealand route based ship (formerly Irish Ferries Isle…
Large Public Interest Prompts Isle of Man Ferry Meeting
#ProposedManxFerry –There is "very high interest" in plans for a new ferry service on the Isle of Man which has prompted shipping operators to hold a public meeting. The Ellan Vannin Line, owned by Manx company Sea Alliance aims to…
Stena Line Founder Sten A. Olsson Dies Aged 96
#FerryFounder - Sten Allan Olsson, the founder of Stena Line has died last week aged 96, reports the Belfast Newsletter. The Swede had established the ferry company which operates routes between Ireland and Britain and throughout Scandinavia. Sten Allan Olsson…
Central Irish Sea Routes the Busiest
#FerryTraffic- Both the Dublin to Holyhead and Liverpool routes were the most important shipping routes last year. Data from the Central Statistics Office reveal the Ireland-Wales route accounted for 7.9pc of all tonnes received into the State's ports. The Liverpool…
Carlingford Car Ferry Service Moves a Step Closer
#FerryNews- As previously reported, plans for a car ferry service linking Greenore and Greencastle moved a step closer yesterday when its developers formally submitted planning applications to both Louth County Council and the north's planning service. Carlingford Ferries, which is…
Seatruck Ferries Transport ‘Snoozebox’s for G8 Summit
#FerryNews- Seatruck Ferries Heysham-Warrenpoint route had the unusual task of transporting 170 'Snoozebox' cabins to provide temporary accommodation for the 1350 security personnel drafted in for the G8 Summit that took place on the shores of Lough Erne. Each cabin…

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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