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Chartered Finnish Ferry Heads for Scotland following Incident
#FinnishFerry –Following an inspection of Finnarrow due to a 'stabiliser incident' in Holyhead at the weekend, the chartered Finnish ferry requires further attention. The 25,996 tonnes vessel, having departed Anglesey today with a tug bound for Scotland, writes Jehan Ashmore.…
Oscar Reopens French Route Season
#FrenchRoute-Irish Ferries set sail for France today on board cruiseferry Oscar Wilde, which launches the 2013 season with a night-time departure on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route. Irish Ferries are currently offering a fare from €99 car & driver & reserved seat.…
UK Competition Commission Question Eurotunnel Ferry Deal
#FerryCompetition – English Channel passengers and freight customers could face increased prices following Eurotunnel's acquisition of ferry operator, SeaFrance (Dover-Calais) the Competition Commission (CC) has provisionally found. According to a summary of the CC's provisional findings published today, by adding…
Stena Line to Reactivate HSS Service Following Ferry Incident
#FerryDisruption - According to ITV Wales, there was an incident on board the Finnarrow, a ferry on charter to Stena Line, while berthing in Holyhead at the weekend. Stena Line has confirmed the incident at the Welsh port on Saturday,…
Ferry Cruises to Mark HMS Illustrious Visit to Liverpool
#SightseeingCruise- Special river explorer cruises operated by Mersey Ferries are to run this weekend to mark the visit of HMS Illustrious (R06) to Liverpool. Onboard the river cruises this weekend 16-17 February, between 11am and 4pm (including 4pm cruise), Blue…
Euro-Celtic Countdown! as Gathering Looms Over the Horizon
#GatheringVoyage- Passengers booked on a Celtic Link Ferries sailing from France one month from today (15 March) in advance of St. Patrick's Day, will be taking advantage of a special €1 euro 'Gathering' fare, writes Jehan Ashmore. The special offer…
P&O Ferries Protests Over Eurotunnel Bid to run French Ports
#StraitofDover– Dover's largest ferry operator P&O Ferries have written to the UK Office of Fair Trading, expressing concern over Eurotunnel's inclusion in a final round process to manage French shortsea ports Calais and Boulogne. The Channel Tunnel operator's move could…
The 162,000 kms ‘Swifty’ Returns to Service
#DublinSwift- Jonathan Swift, Irish Ferries fastferry returned fresh to the Dublin-Holyhead service this week, following annual drydocking maintenance in Birkenhead, writes Jehan Ashmore. The central corridor route, which is a distance of 60 nautical miles (111 Kms) takes Jonathan Swift only…
Sail to the Six Nations Rugby in Dublin
#RUGBYFerry – Following the Irish rugby victory against the Welsh, Irish Ferries has space for fans wanting to watch the next RBS Six Nations match, when England encounter the team in green back on home ground in Dublin on 10…
Steep Rise Set for Aran Islands Ferry Fares
#Ferries - Ferry fares for people travelling between Inis Mór in the Aran Islands and the mainland are set to almost double from tomorrow 1 February, as RTÉ News reports. Island Ferries founder Paddy O'Brien has cited increased fuel costs…
Ferry & Cruise Exhibitors at Holiday World Show, Dublin
#HolidayWorldDublin- The annual Holiday World Show, Dublin is underway having opening yesterday in the RDS Simmonscourt Complex, Ballsbidge. As previously reported, Eoghan Corry's Expert Travel Clinics will include talks on those considering taking a cruise. The FREE travel clinic (see…
Famous Mersey Ferry to be Withdrawn Awaits Uncertain Future
#MerseyFerry- Royal Daffodil, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, is due to be withdrawn from the Mersey Ferries fleet. She is to lay-up at the Duke Street Basin in Birkenhead, from the end of the month on shore power, following dry…
P&O Invest in Major Upgrade of Scottish Ferryport
#FerryPort – Work has begun on a major upgrade of the Scottish ferryport of Cairnryan, on Loch Ryan, according to The Irish News. The renovation of part of the P&O Ferries division-owed port comes after rival Stena Line invested millions…
Ferry Fare Offers for Rugby Fans
#RugbyFerry – Special sporting offers from Stena Line are available for those heading off to the RBS Rugby Six Nations Ireland v Wales game in the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff on 2 February. For motorists, there is a lead-in fare from…
Stena Nordica Covers Rosslare-Fishguard Sailings as Route Ferry Goes for Refit
#FerryREFITS – Stena Line's charter of Finnarrow, which as previously reported on Afloat.ie, entered service on the Dublin Port-Holyhead route allowed Stena Nordica to relief the Rosslare-Fishguard ferry, and not as previously indicated go straight to annual refit. Instead Stena…
Not a 'Fast-Ferry' to Be Seen on the Irish Sea
#DublinSwift – The are currently no fast-ferries operating at all on the Irish Sea, not due to bad weather, but for the annual refit of Jonathan Swift, the only such craft running throughout the year, on Irish Ferries Dublin-Holyhead route,…

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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