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Brittany Ferries has closed its Rosslare-Le Havre route as the operator of the Ireland-France link will not reopen the service in 2024, writes Jehan Ashmore

The weekend only operated Wexford-Normandy link was scheduled to close last weekend, however Storm Ciarán led to cancelled crossings and according to Brittany Ferries the previous weekend sailings were also affected by adverse weather.

It was two years ago when the Rosslare-Le Havre route opened due to significant increase in demand for direct freight links connecting Ireland with France. In March this year the 120 trailer unit freight-ferry, Cotentin (see photo) also took on passengers, their cars and foot passengers on the 20 hour 15 minutes service.

The 22,308 gross tonnage Cotentin, however is to remain with Irish operations by switching to the Rosslare-Cherbourg route this Saturday, 11 November, following a debut crossing to take place overnight from France.

The passenger and freight route was operated by the E-Flexer series cruise-ferry Salamanca, with the ropax Cotentin soon to take over. In addition to be joined by second ship, Santoña which starts service from Rosslare next Monday, 13 November, following a departure France the previous day. Santoña is Brittany Ferries newest LNG powered cruise-ferry.  

Brittany Ferries two-ship service will be in direct competition with rivals Stena Line which introduced in June a second ship, the cruise ferry Stena Vision which has helped to achieve a record rise in passenger and car numbers up over 90% on last year. The massive boost in trade along with Stena Horizon, the ropax which launched the link for Stena following its acquisition of Celtic Link Ferries in 2014.

The shorter Rosslare-Cherbourg route of around 17 hours, operated by Brittany Ferries and Stena with two ships each, Afloat highlights will offer customers the most ever range of sailings on the route and of all between Ireland and France, including those connecting Dublin and Cork.

Both Cotentin and the former Rosslare-Cherbourg route serving Salamanca, will be operating out of the Cotentin peninsula in Normandy, as Brittany Ferries also run a Cherbourg-Portsmouth route.

Cherbourg at the northern tip of the peninsula is where Brittany Ferries also have a route to Poole and so the Normandy port is strategically located also to the UK. In addition, Brittany Ferries is to launch next year a new ‘rail-freight motorway’ connecting the port in Normandy and Bayonne in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region in south-western France, close to border with Spain.

The new almost 1,000km rail link will form a natural extension of Brittany Ferries’ existing sea routes linking Cherbourg to Ireland and the UK, cutting the number of lorries transiting France by road by around 25,000 per year. Brittany Ferries will operate and sell the new service, effectively becoming a rail operator.

Published in Brittany Ferries