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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…
Tender Open to Run Mayo Islands Cargo-Ferry Service
#IslandFerry – The Government have issued a tender for an operator to run over a five-year contract period a cargo-ferry service between Inishturk, Clare Island Co. Mayo and the mainland. The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is seeking…
Bad Weather Disrupts Ferry Sailings
#FerrySailings - The recent bad weather across the Irish Sea and beyond has led to cancellations on some ferry services. For the latest ferry sailing information for today Thursday 18 April, consult the list of operators below. IRISH FERRIES *…
Former Irish Sea Ferry to run Extended Charter to New Zealand Operators
#FerryCharter- New Zealand ferry operator Interislander has announced the renewal of the charter lease of Irish Continental Group's (ICG) ferry Kaitaki for another four years, writes Jehan Ashmore. ICG which are the parent company of Irish Ferries, have chartered out…
Set Sail for Summertime with Celtic Link Ferries Half-Price Cabin Sale
#FrenchFerry– As summertime officially starts over the Easter Weekend, perhaps it's also time to set a sailing time of your choice by booking with Celtic Link Ferries, noting the half-price cabin sale! The operator which runs the ro-pax ferry Celtic…
Easter Weekend Manx Ferry Round-Trip Service
#ManxFerry –With the Easter Bank Holiday weekend underway, fast-ferry sailings to and from the Isle of Man to Dublin Port take place tomorrow with a round-trip service from Douglas. Operating these sailings are by the fast-ferry Manannan which is is…
From Farm to Ferry: Brittany Ferries Launches 35th Season of Service
#BrittanyFerries35th – Today Brittany Ferries celebrates launching into its 35th year in operating the Cork-Roscoff seasonal service served by 'flagship' Pont-Aven, writes Jehan Ashmore. Speaking about the upcoming 2013 season, General Manager of Brittany Ferries, Mr Hugh Bruton said: "This…
Stena Line HSS Fast-Craft Sailings Cancelled
#SailingsCancelled – According to the Stena Line website, today's (Friday 22 March) HSS Stena Explorer fast-craft sailing departing at 13.30HRS from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead has been cancelled. All passengers en route to the port are advised to contact the…
Irish Ferries Fast-Craft Sailings Cancelled
#SailingsCancelled - Due to adverse weather forecast on the Irish Sea for today (Friday 22 March), Irish Ferries have cancelled ALL Jonathan Swift 'fast-craft' sailings. RE: Friday 22 March 2013Due to adverse weather forecast on the Irish Sea for Friday…
Seatruck Welcomes Heysham Link-Road to ‘Motorway’
#FreightFerry– Irish Sea freight-ferry operator Seatruck Ferries has welcomed the UK government's granting of the Heysham link-road to the M6 motorway, writes Jehan Ashmore. The new road will improve both the local transport infrastructure and access to the Lancashire port,…
Cork-UK Ferry Link ‘Unfeasible’
#CorKWalesFerry – The reinstatement of a ferry link between Cork and the UK is not feasible in the current economic climate, according to a report compiled by transport experts, writes the Irish Examiner. Cork County Council and the Port of…
Celtic Link Ferries Bring Visitors for St. Patrick's Gathering
#GatheringVoyage – As previously reported on Afloat.ie Celtic Link Ferries were proud to have transported over 400 passengers on board Celtic Horizon from mainland Europe to Ireland for St. Patrick's Day 2013. The only ferry company which sails between Ireland…
Take a Manchester Ship Canal Cruise and Retrace the Route of the Guinness Ships
#CanalCruises – Operators of the famous ferry cross the Mersey will again be launching Manchester Ship Canal Cruises starting in early April, writes Jehan Ashmore. Treat yourself to the leisurely 6 hour return cruise along the 35 mile canal. To…
Manx-Merseyside Route Switches for Seasons
#ManxRoutes – Today marks the final Douglas-Birkenhead sailing of the winter, though the mainland port switches for the summer running from Liverpool, writes Jehan Ashmore. Ro-Pax ferry Ben-My-Chree is making an end of season sailing today with an arrival in…

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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