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Busier Times for Birkenhead
#Birkenhead – Busier times lay ahead for Birkenhead Twelve Quays Terminal next week when Stena Line introduce a third ship on the route to Belfast while today the Isle of Man Steam Packet resumed a winter service, writes Jehan Ashmore.…
P&O to Bring BBC's The One Show's Rickshaw Challenge for Children In Need
#BBCgoesP&O - The BBC One Show's Alex Jones will be passing through the Port of Larne's P&O Ferry terminal tomorrow evening (8 November) as part of the show's Rickshaw Challenge for BBC Children In Need. This eight-day relay challenge will…
Minister Welcomes Boost to Tourism & Trade as Irish Ferries Announce New Vessel
#FerryBOOST- Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar has welcomed Irish Ferries decision as previously reported, to add two extra daily services on the Holyhead-Dublin route next month and with a new vessel to boost tourism and significantly increase freight capacity. "This…
Irish Ferries Increases Capacity on Irish Sea Dublin to Holyhead Route
#ferry – Irish Ferries is to increase its capacity and frequency on the Dublin to Holyhead route through the introduction of a third ship in December 2013. Currently, the ferry company operates eight sailings per day on the key Irish…
Delayed Freight-Ferry's Launch on Belfast-Liverpool Route
#FreightFerry – Stena Line's plan to launch a freight-only ferry on the Belfast-Liverpool (Birkenhead) on Tuesday as previously reported, has been delayed to next week, writes Jehan Ashmore. Having had technical issues, the 114-trailer capacity Stena Hibernia (1996/13,007grt) also encountered…
Get Snapping! Seatruck Ferries Photo Competition
#PhotoCompetition – Seatruck Ferries, are currently running a photo competition to win £250 worth of vouchers of your choice. Participants are asked to take a photograph that must be that of a Seatruck vessel, nature or theme. Entries for the…
Brittany Ferries 35th Season Ends with Final Sailing
#FerryNews – Brittany Ferries final Cork-Roscoff end of season sailing for 2013 took place on Saturday as the flagship cruiseferry Pont-Aven headed past Cork Harbour's Roches Point Lighthouse, writes Jehan Ashmore. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Irish-French service began…
LD Lines Launch New UK-Spain Route
#NewROUTE – LD Lines has begun a new UK-Spain route between Poole, Dorset and Santander in Cantabria served by ro-pax Norman Asturias with a capacity for up to 500 passengers, 200 cars or 110 freight vehicles, writes Jehan Ashmore. As…
Stena Line Voted 'Best Ferry Company'
#FerryAward – Stena Line was voted top ferry company for a record 21st year at the annual Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Awards. The 'Best Ferry Company' award was presented at a glittering awards ceremony last month in Newcastle, Co.…
End of Brittany Ferries Seasonal Sailings
#FerryNews – Brittany Ferries final end of season sailings on the weekend-only operated Cork-Roscoff route is next Saturday (2 November), writes Jehan Ashmore. The Irish-French route as previously reported was started 35 years ago when the operator Bretagne-Angleterre Irlande (B.A.I)…
Stena Line Add Freight Ferry to Boost Belfast-Liverpool (Birkenhead) Route
#FreightFerry – A third vessel, Stena Hibernia (1996/13,007grt) will be adding extra freight capacity to Stena Line's Belfast-Liverpool (Birkenhead) service. The 114-trailer capacity freight ferry Stena Hibernia will be introduced onto the route from 5 November and will initially operate…
Luxury Premium Suites on Ireland-France Routes
#FerrySuites – Ferry standards have risen to a new level in luxury as Irish Ferries unveil three Premium Suites on board their Ireland – France routes cruiseferry Oscar Wilde. The new suites situated high up on deck 8 overlook the…
The Ferry Mobile Way to Book
#FerryMOBILE – Celtic Link Ferries have now made available the option to book a ferry crossing via the mobile phone to those travelling on the operator's service between Rosslare and Cherbourg. Passengers will be able to research their crossing and…
I.O.M. Steam Packet Company Secure Charter of Seatruck Freighter
#NEWManxFreighter – In a move to further consolidate freight-service operations, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has chartered Seatruck Ferries R-class ro-ro freighter Arrow (1998/7,606grt) on a long-term basis, writes Jehan Ashmore. The agreement includes an option to purchase…
UCD Yacht Team Heads off to Paris the Celtic Link Way
#UCDyacht – The UCD Yacht Team are heading off to France tomorrow to compete in the World Cup.The team are travelling with the support of Celtic Link Ferries which operate services on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route. Last years winners UCD are…
P&O 'Express' Service Nears End of Season Sailings
#P&Oexpress- P&O Ferries seasonal-only operated Larne-Troon route is scheduled to cease next Monday (7 October) bringing a close to this year's Northern Ireland-Scotland route, writes Jehan Ashmore. The route operated by the InCAT 91m fast-craft P&O Express completes the crossing…

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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