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Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
Article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol allows either side to unilaterally suspend elements of the deal if it creates serious economic, societal or environmental problems. Above AFLOAT adds a truck embarking on board a ferry at Larne Port which has a route connecting to Cairnryan, Scotland.
The UK's Brexit minister David Frost has said that his government's preference is to strike a deal to improve post-Brexit trade arrangements for Northern Ireland and that agreement can be reached by Christmas. Britain and the EU agreed last week…
In terms of breakdown by market, Brittany Ferries France-Ireland route soared 234%. Afloat adds the Breton based operator also reported on UK-France reservations up 40% while UK-Spain routes they rose by 35%. Last week Afloat reported on the operator's new Rosslare-Le Havre 'freight' route also due to surging demand given a post-Brexit Britain. Above Pont-Aven in Cork Harbour recently on the final sailing to Roscoff this year, however the cruiseferry resumes service in March 2022.
Brittany Ferries, which operates the Ireland-France route of Cork-Roscoff, has reported a surge in bookings for summer 2022. Since the onset of the pandemic, as Echo Live reports, the ferry company has navigated what it calls two "disastrous" summer seasons, where they…
Stormont's Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots said that he wanted the issue of “unnecessary checks” to be addressed and said trading barriers were not benefiting Northern Ireland. Above a UK Border Force officers talk to a lorry driver at a checking facility near Belfast Harbour.
Northern Ireland's Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has been challenged to end all Protocol checks at ports if the UK government triggers Article 16. Mr Poots responded that he wanted the issue of “unnecessary checks” to be addressed and said trading…
Irish Ferries announced the purchase of cruise ferry Calais Seaways which is to be renamed Isle of Innisfree following rebranding while drydocking prior to entering service in December.  AFLOAT adds this ferry had until three months ago operated for DFDS Dover-Calais route until replaced by newbuild Côte d'Opale, one of the expanding E-Flexer class series built for Stena Ro Ro which has chartered the vessel to the operator which competes with Irish Ferries and P&O Ferries on the Strait of Dover link between the UK and France.
Irish Ferries announced today the addition of a second ro-ro cruise ferry Isle of Innisfree to its Dover-Calais route joining Isle of Inishmore, which was launched just months ago onto the premier UK-France link, writes Jehan Ashmore. Under the terms…
New Direct Freight Route: Due to a surge in demand for freight capacity, Brittany Ferries is to open a new route connecting Le Havre , Normandy with Rosslare Europort. The Ireland-France route is to be operated by the freight-only Cotentin with space for 120 freight units. The custom-built ferry completed in 2007, has 120 cabins and a range of amenities for truck-drivers including a restaurant, bar and shop.
Brittany Ferries has announced a new weekly freight service linking Le Havre in Normandy with Rosslare Europort in Ireland. The direct route (to mainland Europe) will be served by Cotentin, Brittany Ferries’ freight-only vessel and will commence next week, with…
The Irish Ferries operated Isle of Inishmore while in the Strait of Dover was forced to stop to rescue more than a dozen migrants in a sinking dinghy and return them to Calais in France. Irish Ferries only began the UK-France service in the summer, this was a significant first for the company to run a link between Britain and mainland Europe.
An Irish Ferries ship operating on the Strait of Dover was forced to stop to rescue more than a dozen migrants in a sinking dinghy and return them to France, reports The Telegraph. Crew on the Isle of Inishmore threw…
Above a ferry at the Port of Larne which connects Cairnryan, Scotland where the Taoiseach Micheál Martin attended the COP26 summit on the banks of the Clyde in Glasgow this week.
The Taoiseach Micheal Martin has warned the British Government that any move to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol would be “irresponsible...unwise” and “reckless”. As the Belfst Telegraph writes, the Irish premier told the Dail on Wednesday such…
Irish Ferries was awarded 'Best Ferry/Fixed Linked Operator' at the UK Group Leisure & Travel Awards. The Dublin based company in the summer launched a new service on the Dover-Calais route, a first for the operator by linking the UK and mainland Europe which is served by Isle of Inishmore.
Irish Ferries has been awarded the title of ‘Best Ferry or Fixed Linked Operator’  for the third consecutive year at the UK Group Leisure and Travel Awards 2021 – a momentous achievement following a challenging year for global travel. The annual awards ceremony…
A report by Dublin Port shows the impact of Brexit as firms use dozens of new ferry services to the European mainland. Above Afloat adds ferries from rival operators, Irish Ferries and Stena Line berthed at Holyhead which links Dublin Port.
Freight ferry traffic to the Republic of Ireland from north Wales and the north west of England has plunged by more than a fifth since the UK formally left the European Union. Brexit has caused a slump in cargo volume…
Sterling's rise in recent weeks against the euro has increasingly made selling into Britain more competitive despite the uncertainties caused by the hard Brexit deal the UK signed up to last Christmas
As sterling rose to 84 pence against the euro, this has helped to provide some sort of relief to Irish small firms exporting across the Irish Sea into Britain, reports The Irish Examiner. Since the 2016 Brexit referendum, exporters have faced…
The Isle of Man Steam Packet have appointed Seamus Byrne as Customer Services Manager
Ferry operator the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has announced the appointment of a new Customer Services Manager. With a wealth of experience in the travel industry, Seamus Byrne will officially begin in the role on 1st November. He…
After Brexit and the Covid crisis, time to relaunch competitiveness for Brittany Ferries which is to receive French Government aid of €45m. The operator's Irish serving market cruiseferry Pont-Aven, AFLOAT adds will complete its final end of season Cork-Roscoff (round trip) sailings next weekend (29 and 30 Oct), while crossings continue year round on the Rosslare-Cherbourg and Bilbao route connecting Ireland and Spain. The majority of the operator's route network links the UK and France as well as services between Britain and northern Spain.
Brittany Ferries president, Jean-Marc Roué, has welcomed the French government’s announcement that it will extend exceptional aid of €45 million to the Brittany-based shipping company. For over a year, Brittany Ferries has warned the French state of its deteriorating financial…
Lorries from Ireland commonly arrived by ferry at Holyhead (above) to travel over land to Dover while en route to mainland Europe. The altenative involves direct ferry routes to mainland Europe which are avoiding Welsh ports, according to the Irish minister.
Numerous new ferry routes avoiding Welsh ports have been established between Ireland and mainland Europe over the past year because of Brexit, Ireland's foreign affairs minister has said. Simon Coveney said there were 44 direct routes between Ireland and the…
NI Protocol: EU Negotiators to Travel to London for Talks
As RTE News reports, talks are set to continue between the UK and the EU as it was warned the two sides were still far apart on issues surrounding the Northern Ireland Protocol. UK officials described as "constructive" the first…
New ferry for the Isle of Man is on schedule for delivery in 2023
Work on the new Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's flagship ferry, Manxman, is on schedule. As previously reported on Afloat, the vessel is under construction in a South Korean shipyard and is due to be ready by 2023. Managing…
The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford is to discuss the potential of the ferry port of Holyhead in Anglesey.
In north Wales, Rhun ap Iorwerth the Ynys Môn (Anglesey) MS, will meet with Wales’ First Minister, Mark Drakeford, to discuss the investment and support needed to unleash the potential at Holyhead's port. During questions to the First Minister this…

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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