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Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
Port Out Starboard Home as Olympic Torch Travels P&OSH
#OLYMPIC FERRY– With 50 days to go to the start of the London Olympic Games, the torch-relay is to depart Northern Ireland this afternoon with P&O Ferries on the North Channel service to Scotland, writes Jehan Ashmore. Before the flame…
H&W Complete Refit of Italian Built Successful Ro-Pax Design
#FERRY NEWS – A £4m upgrade of Stena Line's Belfast-Birkenhead (Liverpool) sisters has been completed at Harland & Wolff. The work was carried on the pair of 27,000 tonnes ships by Newry based specialist marine outfitters MJM Marine, writes Jehan…
Sea Trials on Belfast Lough for Stena Caledonia Ahead of Possible Sale
#FERRY NEWS - The veteran Stena Line ferry Stena Caledonia was spotted on sea trials in Belfast Lough last weekend pending its possible sale. As Irish Sea Shipping reports, ASDP Ferry of Indonesia is thought to have an interest in…
Extra Freight Ferry Chartered for Manx TT Races
#MANX TT RACES FERRY NEWS – According to BBC News, an additional ro-ro freight-ferry has been chartered from Seatruck Ferries by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in order to cope with demand during the TT races. More than…
Got that Friday Ferry Feeling….Like It
#FRIDAY FERRY FREEBIES – Celtic Link Ferries have launched a new 'Friday Ferry Freebies' campaign where they are giving away the chance of winning a return trip to France on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route, writes Jehan Ashmore. The prize is for…
Wine Fair Mini-Cruise Sets Sail on Start of Seasonal Service
# WINE FAIR MINI-CRUISE – Some passengers travelling on today's Irish Ferries inaugural sailing of the seasonal operated Rosslare-Roscoff route are taking a Wine Fair mini-cruise, writes Jehan Ashmore. To celebrate the start of summer sailings to Roscoff, the special…
Discounted Ferry Fares across the Shannon
#SHANNON FERRY SERVICE - With the May Bank Holiday looming, those travelling along the mid-western seaboard should note that Shannon Ferries are currently offering discounts of 10% on all 'on-line' tickets booked this month and in June, writes Jehan Ashmore.…
Former Fastnet Ferry Bids Farewell
#FASTNET FERRY – The ferry Julia (1981/22.161grt) which had operated the Fastnet Line Cork-Swansea service, set sail yesterday under her new name Wind Perfection, writes Jehan Ashmore. Since the route closed in November last year (having only started in 2010)…
Calling Cherbourg: All Things Nauting
#FERRY SAILS – Ferry passengers perhaps on a mini-wine break cruise between Rosslare-Cherbourg may be taking a detour to the Cherbourg Nauting Boat Show which is been held this weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore. Both Celtic Link Ferries and Irish Ferries…
Belfast Lough Collision Captain Pleads Guilty to Crash Damage
#FERRY NEWS - The captain of a cargo ship that crashed into a passenger ferry in Belfast Lough last month has pleaded guilty to four charges related to the incident, RTÉ News reports. More than $1 million of damage was…
Another Fine Performance
#SEATRUCK NEWBUILD - With the announcement of Seatruck Ferries new Belfast-Heysham route to open in May, the company have in the meantime introduced a newbuild this week on the Dublin-Heysham route, writes Jehan Ashmore. Seatruck Performance brings additional capacity to…
Seatruck to Launch New Freight Route
#NEW FREIGHT ROUTE – A new route between Belfast-Heysham is to be launched by Irsh Sea freight-only specialist Seatruck Ferries early next month, according to The Irish Trucker. The new service will be opened on 7 May using the sisters…
Plans for Wind-Farms Won’t Affect Manx Ferry Operator
#MANX FERRY – The IOM Today reports that the Manx Government is drawing up plans to ensure that any wind-farms built within the waters off the island would not affect ferry routes. Work on the Isle of Man Marine Plan…
Free Wi-Fi All Round With Irish Ferries
#FREE FERRY WI-FI - Free Wi-Fi is now available on all of the Irish Ferries fleet after an expansion of the facility was completed on routes serving on the Irish Sea and on services to French ports . Wi-Fi access…
Brittany Ferries 'Flagship' Sets Sail for Summer Season
#FERRY TO FRANCE – Brittany Ferries flagship Cork-Roscoff route is underway, as the first sailing in 2012 of the seasonal-only operated service started last weekend and runs to early November. Serving on the 14 hour route which is the shortest…
Bank Holiday Marks Start of Manx Sailings
#ISLE OF MAN FERRY – This Easter bank holiday weekend marks the start of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co.'s seasonal-only Dublin-Douglas ferry service, with a sailing scheduled to depart this evening, writes Jehan Ashmore. The wave-piercing catamaran fastcraft…

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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