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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…
Manx Ferry ‘Round the Island’ Cruise
#ManxCruise – A Round the Island cruise by the Manx ferry Ben-My-Chree (1998/12,504gt) is to take place next Saturday 15 June on a four-hour circuit of the island's spectacular coastline, writes Jehan Ashmore. The journey starts at 7am and returns…
UK Competition Commission Bars Eurotunnel’s MyFerry
#MyFerry – The Dover-Calais operater MyFerry owned by Eurotunnel will be stopped from operating after the UK's Competition Commission (CC) decided that its acquisition of three ferries and other assets from the former ferry operator, SeaFrance, could mean higher prices…
Irish Ferries Celebrates 40 Years Direct Passenger Car Ferry Between Ireland & France
#irishferries – Forty years ago this year, in June 1973, the direct passenger car ferry service between Ireland and France now operated by Irish Ferries began operation. Managed by the then Irish Continental Line – subsequently joined by B&I Line…
New Firth of Clyde Ferry Service
#NewFerryRoute – A new ferry route linking Campeltown on the Mull of Kintyre peninsula and Ardrossan on the Firth of Clyde via the Isle of Arann started last month, writes Jehan Ashmore. The introduction of the new service between Kintyre…
Rosslare Europort's 'Greater Connectivity' Albeit Only for The Gathering
#Rail&Sail – Irish Rail have amendment the Rosslare Europort-Dublin railway service so to provide 'greater connectivity' for ferry passengers, albeit the new schedule was only introduced for this year of The Gathering, writes Jehan Ashmore.  The National Transport Authority approved…
Celtic Link Ferries See Increase in May Traffic
#FerryNews – Celtic Link Ferries have recorded an increase in both passenger and vehicle traffic for the month of May. Passengers making southbound Rosslare-Cherbourg sailings have increased by a modest 1.5% for the month compared to the same time last…
Ferry Passenger Numbers Up
Ferry passenger numbers travelling to and from Ireland increased by 4% during the first quarter of 2013 when compared to the corresponding period last year, while tourist car numbers increased by 1%, according to the latest figures from the Irish…
Gathering Steam as Welsh Railway Engine Crosses the Irish Sea
#Rail&Sail – A Welsh steam-engine still operating after 150 years on the Ffestiniog Railway in Snowdonia, crossed the Irish Sea yesterday and is to be put on display in Dublin's Heuston Station as part of the Gathering Ireland 2013, writes…
‘Irish’ New Zealand Flagship Ferry to Get a Facelift
#FerryFacelift – Following last month's decision by New Zeland ferry operator Interislander to renew the charter of Kaitaki from ICG for another four years to 2017, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, the ro-pax 22,365 tonnes flagship is to receive a…
Celtic Link Ferries to Go Cycling with Giro D’Italia
#CelticGiroDItalia – Celtic Link Ferries Italian flagged ro-pax Celtic Horizon will be carrying the cycling cavalcade for one of the world's greatest cycling events, the prestigious 2014 Giro D'Italia, which takes place next May with an all island staged route,…
Northern Ireland MLA calls for Foyle Ferry to be Publically Funded
#FoyleFerry –A Northern Assembly member wants Stormont to fund the Lough Foyle Ferry Service out of the public purse, reports yesterday's Belfast Telegraph. Officials are to be questioned by the Regional Development Committee at Stormont about why the Strangford Ferry…
Belfast Bids Farewell to Fastferry HSS Craft Bound for the Breakers
#FarewellHSS- A fast-ferry that served the Belfast-Stranraer route, which no longer exists, departed Belfast for the final time at the weekend. The ferry HSS Stena Voyager is bound for Sweden where she is to be scrapped, writes Jehan Ashmore. The…
Damaged Manx Ferry Returns to Service
#ManxFerry – The main ferry serving the Isle of Man has returned to service following contact with a pier while berthing at the start of this month in Douglas Harbour. Repairs were made to Ben-my-Chree and she has since returned…

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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