Stena Line has, following the refit of their vessel Stena Europe that enables the carriage of higher freight vehicles, altered their schedule on the Rosslare/Fishguard route. The new schedule separates their sailing from those operated on the Rosslare/Pembroke route by Irish Ferries, thus giving hauliers a wider choice of sailing times on the Southern corridor route. The most significant likely result of the change will be an increase in volumes coming into Rosslare on the overnight sailing as the 04.00 arrival time facilitates deliveries to major Distribution Centres in the greater Dublin area.
Neptune Lines has opened a weekly service linking Santander with Rosslare with calls en route northbound at Le Havre and Southampton. The main traffic for this service is the import of Trade cars and other vehicles but it is expected that as the route becomes more established hauliers will begin to use it for shipments to Iberia with attendant time and cost savings as against Landbridge routes available up to now.
Seatruck has, following the switch by carmaker Toyota of their supply hub for Ireland from Portbury near Bristol to Zeebrugge, ceased their weekly service from Portbury into Dublin. The contract has now been taken up by K Line subsidiary, KESS, running weekly from Zeebrugge to Dublin. This Line is seeking to develop outbound rolling and other cargo from Dublin to the Flanders Port.
Responding to a question on Natural Gas-Powered vehicles being carried on Ferries at Fleet Transport’s Green Fleet Management with Natural Gas Power Conference, Martin Flach of IVECO said that it was his understanding that LNG powered trucks and buses could only be carried on outside decks. This would put them into a similar category to vehicles carrying hazardous materials. He did not envisage any problem with taking CNG powered vehicles on decks inside the vessel especially those operating in routes with 48 hours or less sailing time.
He confirmed that discussions are ongoing with Eurotunnel to enable Natural Gas-powered vehicles travel through the tunnel.
The IEA has raised the issue with a number of ferry operators with services from Irish Ports and will return to the subject in a future issue. The queries relate to operations on routes throughout Europe.
The Irish Ferries parent, Irish Continental Group has reported steady revenue growth in 2016. Group revenue increasing by 1.5% to € 325.4 million from € 320.6 million. This was despite a fall in ferry revenue by one million euro to € 202.7 million.
CLdN RoRo Agencies, Managing Director, Gary Walker, has advised that the line currently has 24 vessels in operation on its routes out of its Rotterdam and Zeebrugge hubs. From there vessels sail to Iberia, Great Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia. The fleet is built up with Ro-Ro vessels with varying capacities of up to 6,000 lane metres and some Lo-Lo vessels which are used to supplement the core fleet.
There is currently strong growth on the services to and from Dublin with eight to nine weekly round trip sailings, two of these operated with Lo-Lo vessels. In the course of its report on throughput figures for the first quarter of 2017, the Port of Zeebrugge noted that freight volumes out of Zeebrugge to Dublin grew by 4.1% in the period while that to Scandinavia increased by 1.3%. The automotive sector posted a growth of 10.4% in new vehicles handled with a quarterly figure of over700,000 units.
CLdN has an additional six vessels on order with the first of the 8,000 lane metre vessels due to enter service before the end of 2017. As is their normal practice the route allocation of these vessels will be decided on the basis of actual and potential traffic flows on the route network. Work is currently underway to develop enhanced ramp and other facilities at Dublin Port’s Common User terminal. CLdN will also shortly decide whether or not to convert options on another six new-buildings into firm orders.