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Cork to Santander Route to Launch in 2018

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NEWS: The Official Press Release regarding the new Ireland - Spain route can be read here. 16/01/18

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17 minutes ago, Gareth said:

It looks like one of the ideas for new development that we have discussed on here a number of times may be about to become a reality:

Just come across this:

http://www.eldiariomontanes.es/cantabria/puerto-santander-negocia-20180115214547-ntvo.html

If true, then it sounds like BF might be taking the idea of opening a Cork-Santander route seriously.

Gareth, you're the timetable savvy one amongst us.

Without another vessel, how would this route impact on BF's needs from both Plymouth & Portsmouth also could BF incorporate their Roscoff-Cork service into it?

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14 minutes ago, jonno said:

Gareth, you're the timetable savvy one amongst us.

Without another vessel, how would this route impact on BF's needs from both Plymouth & Portsmouth also could BF incorporate their Roscoff-Cork service into it?

Well....bizarrely as it may seem (! ;) ), BF has not called upon my services to help with their timetable planning, so I can only hazard a guess!

When I did those theoretical exercises a few years back on what the timetables could look like if they had such a route, I worked on an assumption that the crossing time between Cork and Santander would be something in the region of 26 hours.  A dedicated ship would be able to manage two such rotations per week, and would then have time to fit in a Cork - Roscoff rotation in between.  That would be almost certainly necessary for crew changes anyway.  So if a new ship is brought in for the purpose then you might expect to see something like that.  Or it could even be a Cork - St Malo rotation instead; she's have the time available.

On the other hand, if the plan was to achieve this using existing tonnage, then I'd expect Pont Aven to be used for a single crossing each way per week.  She'd be able to fit this in, probably in lieu of one of her UK to Spain rotations.  If they wanted to, she could run to Roscoff from Cork after arrival from Santander without needing to cross to Roscoff from Plymouth.  So if they did this with Pont Aven, PA would necessarily lose either her Portmouth - Spain rotation, or possibly her Plymouth rotation (including Roscoff).  However, all of those are very popular services so I'd be surprised to see them go.  I'd imagine that a new ship brought in for the purpose would be more likely.

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Would a ferry like the GNV La Superba be suitable? She was mentioned as available for charter in another thread last year. This route has the advantage of being outside the SECA and could therefore be operated by a wider range of ships.

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3 minutes ago, crechbleiz said:

Would a ferry like the GNV La Superba be suitable? She was mentioned as available for charter in another thread last year. This route has the advantage of being outside the SECA and could therefore be operated by a wider range of ships.

I'd like to all three of GNV's supposedly available ships plying their trade in BF colours.

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1 hour ago, jonno said:

 

Without another vessel, how would this route impact on BF's needs from both Plymouth & Portsmouth also could BF incorporate their Roscoff-Cork service into it?

It would certainly limit the need to use the UK as a land bridge and solve probable customs problems especially if they could get in a France trip as well.  Perhaps Portsmouth and Plymouth services might be reduced.

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I don know why they should reduce the Portsmouth and Plymouth services.  As the bookings on these routes have been very encouraging for many.  If there is a demand on this direct Irish to Spain link.  And at the same time from the 2 ports in England.  They will need another ferry.   This  économie has been a lot of people using that. 

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16 minutes ago, Ian Walker said:

I don know why they should reduce the Portsmouth and Plymouth services.  As the bookings on these routes have been very encouraging for many.  If there is a demand on this direct Irish to Spain link.  And at the same time from the 2 ports in England.  They will need another ferry.   This  économie has been a lot of people using that. 

That's right, if anything over the next 5 years BF will need to increase their Spanish capacities, ref the lively E-Flexer thread. They may well see a drop off in demand for freight traffic through their northern French ports as the road-borne freight transiting France from Spain and North Africa will be directed more toward the Cantabrian & Basque ports which will see huge expansion during the next 7 years. This again has been discussed in other threads & topics.

There will be demand for a direct link to Spain, some can point to valid arguments to suggest there always has been. It may also effect Stena & I.F's freight movements from Dublin & Rosslare to Cherbourg & Roscoff, again alleviating the need to transit France for more southern destinations for which the EU are offering financial incentives.

This could be BF's response to the expanding tonnage I.F are investing in?

Edited by jonno

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9 minutes ago, jonno said:

This could be BF's response to the expanding tonnage I.F are investing in?

You might well be right Jonno. The article, when put through a translator, does suggest that there are at least two companies involved in the feasibility study with Santander, and maybe more. BF are clearly in the best position given their existing infrastructure within the port but IF or Stena could also be angling for access to what must be a lucrative market. Ed

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19 minutes ago, Ian Walker said:

I don know why they should reduce the Portsmouth and Plymouth services.  As the bookings on these routes have been very encouraging for many.  If there is a demand on this direct Irish to Spain link.  And at the same time from the 2 ports in England.  They will need another ferry.   This  économie has been a lot of people using that. 

I was just thinking of the freight and passengers from Ireland who at present use the UK as a land bridge. Perhaps any future harder customs requirements, I would have thought, might make the possibility of more direct routes very attractive. But then perhaps the land bridge element of continental trade is not very significant.

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I would suggest that BF strategy is to firstly get in 1 return crossing a week and effectively make any potential competition have a very weak business case. Also, to trial it without any extra tonnage initially. So my guess would be that the route would be Cork-Roscoff-Santander each way to begin with, at the expense of an existing English rotation.

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Just a thought further to my earlier post. Isn't Oscar Wilde going to be under-used later in the year with IF's newbuild replacing her? Would there be a chance of her doing a run down to Spain as well as one or more trips to France? Ed

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2 hours ago, Cabin-boy said:

Just a thought further to my earlier post. Isn't Oscar Wilde going to be under-used later in the year with IF's newbuild replacing her? Would there be a chance of her doing a run down to Spain as well as one or more trips to France? Ed

Yes there's a chance but I think she's too small especially in terms of freight capacity, a bit like what was just a single Spanish route outgrowing Bretagne and she had competition. I dare say that they'd need to look at augmenting her fo'c'sle too in a similar way to VDL, maybe not want they'd want to do to a 31 year old vessel.

I suppose the much rumoured antics and fleet improvement/expansion of Baleria may put them in the mix... Stena are replacing Superfast X with an E-Flexer, SFX has the ice class, ergo bow strength and many of us have experienced the Cap's comforts to Spain and back?

I prefer crechbleiz' idea, BF to buy or charter from GNV... La Superba replaces Bretagne, La Suprema replaces Cap' Finistere allowing her to relocate to form a close bond with Cork and still maintain her Sunday night rendezvous in Roscoff.

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Ok, this is just a bit of fun.  My attempt at a possible schedule for a new ship brought in for this route, designed to fit around existing BF movements at Roscoff and Santander, as well as to complement PA's existing Cork rotation (by running reciprocal sailings) and allow very generous turnaround times so that weather delays can be easily caught up:

Monday:  1600 arr SANTANDER;  2000 dep SANTANDER

Tuesday:  2100 arr CORK

Wednesday:  0900 dep CORK

Thursday:  1200 arr SANTANDER;  1600 dep SANTANDER

Friday:  1700 arr CORK;  2100 dep CORK

Saturday:  1100 arr ROSCOFF;  1900 dep ROSCOFF

Sunday:  0700 arr CORK;  1300 dep CORK


EDIT: The route looks to have been confirmed as staring on the 29th April with a Vinsentini type vessel. http://www.eldiariomontanes.es/cantabria/puerto-santander-confirma-20180115195359-nt_amp.html?__twitter_impression=true

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I'm not sure it's wise to discount any possibility at this stage.  Of course we are all waiting for something to happen on the Balearia front but that may well be not for some time yet -- if at all.  But maybe BF have their suspicions and are considering their options.  With Brexit looming Ireland-Europe services which by-pass the UK have an obvious appeal and not only to BF I would guess.  

As with so many of these projects one tends to imagine they will be happening next week!  But very probably not!  I'd guess a lot will turn on what competitors do.  If they move quickly I'd guess BF will redeploy their existing fleet quickly in response.  If no competition emerges, who can say?

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Interesting picture in another story regarding this, using the 'Etretat' under a different guise. Makes you wonder! Although, I can't see Brittany Ferries naming one of their vessels after a district of Western Ireland.

0000000010_20180115194605.jpg

Edited by TonyMWeaver
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2 hours ago, Gareth said:

Ok, this is just a bit of fun.  My attempt at a possible schedule for a new ship brought in for this route, designed to fit around existing BF movements at Roscoff and Santander, as well as to complement PA's existing Cork rotation (by running reciprocal sailings) and allow very generous turnaround times so that weather delays can be easily caught up:

Monday:  1600 arr SANTANDER;  2000 dep SANTANDER

Tuesday:  2100 arr CORK

Wednesday:  0900 dep CORK

Thursday:  1200 arr SANTANDER;  1600 dep SANTANDER

Friday:  1700 arr CORK;  2100 dep CORK

Saturday:  1100 arr ROSCOFF;  1900 dep ROSCOFF

Sunday:  0700 arr CORK;  1300 dep CORK


EDIT: The route looks to have been confirmed as staring on the 29th April with a Vinsentini type vessel. http://www.eldiariomontanes.es/cantabria/puerto-santander-confirma-20180115195359-nt_amp.html?__twitter_impression=true

Monday, 15 January 2018, 21:57

Government confirms new maritime connection to Cork's Irish port

The Cantabrian executive and the Port Authority close the advanced negotiations for this newspaper for the shipping company Brittany Ferries to operate from April 29 a new route destined for passengers and DM goods.

From April 29th, the port of Santander will have a new maritime connection with the port of Cork (Ireland) destined to the traffic of passengers and goods, the first and only ferry line between Spain and Ireland. The Government of Cantabria has made it public this afternoon in a statement after this newspaper today advanced the state of the negotiations with the Irish port for the French company Brittany Ferries to operate the new route. A link that implies "new business opportunities and tourism for our port and for Cantabria", according to the adviser of innovation, industry, tourism and commerce, Francisco Martín.

Martín explained that the opening of this new ' maritime Highway ' with Ireland is ' a project that the government of Cantabria had marked as a challenge in this legislature and today we can say that it is a reality '.

According to the owner of industry and Tourism, the connection with Ireland implies a substantial improvement in the communications of the region and thus adds to the efforts that the regional government is "being made to open the region to Europe and facilitate the economic dynamization Of Cantabria, both by sea and by land and air. "

"This connection is a commitment to improving communications, which will also have an impact on the opening of possibilities for the region's industry and new business relations, as well as the arrival of goods and activity for the port of Santander and, finally, The call of tourists from Ireland, ' insisted Martin, for whom the new line contains an ' important potential for the economy of both ports and the regions in which they are based '.

Competing with Gijón or Bilbao in addition, for Martin, it is "one step further to turn the port of Santander into an important logistical area and consolidate against direct competitors such as Bilbao or Gijón".

It also sees in this new route other benefits for Cantabria and the port like the creation of direct and indirect jobs that represents its putting into operation.

The counselor has also been congratulated because it is the shipping company Brittany Ferries responsible for operating the new connection, since "is an experienced and well known, with which we maintain excellent relationships and whose results with their operations in the port of Santander are optimal '.

In this sense, he recalled that Brittany Ferries already operates two connections from the port of Santander with the English of Plymouth and Portsmouth, with a total of four weekly outings. "This company is one of the great allies of our port in terms of the movement of goods and travellers from the United Kingdom, with an annual average of 220,000 passengers".

Two weekly connections The new maritime route will have two weekly connections, with departures from Santander on Thursdays (16.00 Hours) and Sundays (12.00 hours). The duration of the voyage will be 28 hours.

To carry out the route, Brittany Ferries has incorporated to its fleet the ferry called ' Connemara ', with a capacity for 500 passengers. It offers the characteristic services of Brittany Ferrie's boats and has a capacity of 2,250 linear meters of space in garages. The boat is 186.5 meters in length and reaches a speed of 24 knots.

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2 hours ago, Gareth said:

Ok, this is just a bit of fun.  My attempt at a possible schedule for a new ship brought in for this route, designed to fit around existing BF movements at Roscoff and Santander, as well as to complement PA's existing Cork rotation (by running reciprocal sailings) and allow very generous turnaround times so that weather delays can be easily caught up:

Monday:  1600 arr SANTANDER;  2000 dep SANTANDER

Tuesday:  2100 arr CORK

Wednesday:  0900 dep CORK

Thursday:  1200 arr SANTANDER;  1600 dep SANTANDER

Friday:  1700 arr CORK;  2100 dep CORK

Saturday:  1100 arr ROSCOFF;  1900 dep ROSCOFF

Sunday:  0700 arr CORK;  1300 dep CORK


EDIT: The route looks to have been confirmed as staring on the 29th April with a Vinsentini type vessel. http://www.eldiariomontanes.es/cantabria/puerto-santander-confirma-20180115195359-nt_amp.html?__twitter_impression=true

Not a new ship obviously, using the 'Etretat' and renaming her. This must be the 1st time I can recall Brittany Ferries naming a vessel that's not linked to anywhere in France.

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Baja Ferries have been marketing the ex Stena Forwarder now called California Star. Her berths plus pullman seats would equal the 500 pax quoted.

 

D 5130 REF m1hr Year: 2001 Flag: Non US: Location: Europe Price: Price on Request Currency Converter
Length: 187m Beam: 26m Draft: 7m DWT: 7200 BHP: BP: Class: RINA  
Details: 
187m ROPAX 2001 - 1000 PAX - 2040 LM - DWT 7200 For Sale

Built CN Visentini Italy 2001
Ex-name : STENA FORWARDER
Mexican Flag - RINA Class compliant - Stockholm compliant
LOA/Beam/depth 186.50/25.60/15.00 m 
DWAT 7200 on 6.50 m 
GRT/NRT 24418 / 7868 

Passengers 
1000 persons on board including crew 
308 berths - 78 cabins 
210 pulman seats 
200 pax in lounge 

Garage 
2040 LM total
3 trailers decks + 1 car deck 
Stern ramp 16.50 beam X 13.90 m length + 3.00 m flaps
Internal ramp main deck /weather deck 7.00 m beam 
Internal ramp main deck / lower hold 3.50 m beam 

Machinery
2 X MAN B&W 9L 48/90 - 9450 kw each - HFO
abt 22 knots max speed 
2 X CPP propellers 
3 X Gensets 1360 KW - MDO
2 X shaft generators 1375 kw 
2 X bowthrusters 900 kw each
2 fin stabilizers

Cali Star.jpg

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8 minutes ago, jonno said:

Baja Ferries have been marketing the ex Stena Forwarder now called California Star. Her berths plus pullman seats would equal the 500 pax quoted.

 

 

Makes sense, seeing as 'Etretat' is timetabled on the Le Havre route all year.

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A couple of thoughts and observations :

This has all happened very quickly with no leaks or rumours despite a lot of forum members having inside knowledge of BF's workings. 

BF are normally the first to announce any new venture themselves so I'm surprised they have not preempted the Spanish press reports with their own. 

There are no job offers on the BF website which might relate to crewing or managing this new service so are they bringing in a ship with crew to test the market just for one season before committing themselves?

The vessel Jonno has shown to be available is in Mexico although the advert suggests it is in Europe,  but I guess that's not a problem.

The timetables on the Spanish website don't indicate a call at a French port for a crew change but I suppose they could put in at Brest to do so if it really is a BF-crewed operation.

Ed.

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Needless to say, my assumption of a 26 hour crossing time was predicated on a ship with passage speeds similar to Pont Aven and Cap Finistere.  If this service is indeed to be operated by a Vissentini, it would probably need to be a bit longer.

Have to say, I would not look forward to the prospect of 28-30 hours (including possibly 2 nights?) on a Vissentini.  It wasn't for nothing that BF stopped sending Etretat down to Spain.  But, then again, maybe there are Vissentinis better appointed and more suited to a long passage than Etretat was?

I do think it makes sense for a Cork - Santander route to be operated by a stern-only loading vessel.  The only drive-through ship currently running down to Spain is Pont Aven (CF is theoretically drive-through but BF uses her as a stern-only loader these days), and look at the problems she has with her bow doors on a regular basis.  Cork-Santander would give the bows an even harder thumping on a regular basis.

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The second Spanish article suggests a 28 hour crossing time so, depending on how long the layovers are, it might be one night on board northbound and two southbound. But that could also mean some very anti-social departure and arrival times in Cork so they might structure it a bit more sensibly to allow, as you said Gareth, time for the inevitable delays. By my reckoning the suggested timetable ex-Santander still leaves a gap of at least 36 hours early in the week when they might be able to do a Cork-Roscoff/St Malo run to allow for the crew-change. Until we see the full published version that's pure speculation on my part. The vessel specification in the Spanish article does not tally with the Stena Forwarder. Length-wise it's similar but they are suggesting more lane metres than Stena so maybe it's not that vessel. If it were to be her then there seems to be more superstructure than on Etretat so maybe a better range of passenger spaces and services. Ed

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Official BF Press Release:

Portsmouth-based Brittany Ferries expands its route network in 2018

  • 40 year anniversary of services linking the UK directly with Spain
  • 40 year anniversary of services from southern Ireland to France
  • Brittany Ferries to launch first ever direct ferry link between Ireland and Spain

16 January 2018:  Brittany Ferries has today announced the launch of a new route that will link Spain and Ireland by ferry for the first time in history. It comes in a year when the company is celebrating 40 years of operations from the UK to Spain and will be the twelfth route in a network linking the UK, France, Ireland and Spain.

The service will sail from Cork in Munster to Santander in so-called “green Spain” and will start at the end of April, making two return-sailings a week.

A new ship will be chartered for the service which will also deliver an additional weekly return-sailing from Cork to Roscoff in France. She will be called Connemara and will follow the successful économie model that the company has established on services from its UK hub in Portsmouth to Spain and Normandy.

“This is a significant move for Brittany Ferries, one which follows our strategy of diversification,” said Christophe Mathieu, CEO Brittany Ferries. “As a destination green Spain promises visitors a wealth of opportunities, whether they travel with us from the UK or Ireland. However, this new route will also present more options to freight companies operating throughout Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Southern France.”

The ship is currently serving routes between Italy and Greece and will be chartered from Stena RoRo for an initial period of two years. She will carry up to 500 passengers with space for 195 cars. She hosts 2,225 lane metres of garage space and Brittany Ferries expects a fifty-fifty split between passengers and freight carried.

On board, passengers can expect a comfortable, no-frills service with a distinctly Spanish theme. Dining options will reflect the regions served, reinforcing the company’s drive to reveal more about its destinations at every stage of the journey. There will also be a small shop and café-bar as well as comfortable passenger lounges.

Interior and exterior cabins are spacious, with beds for up to four passengers. Four-legged members of the family will also be accommodated thanks to a small allocation of pet-friendly cabins on the ship.

The new service from Brittany Ferries is expected to be on sale by the end of January.

Brittany Ferries’ head office is in Roscoff, France. But its travel hub is based in Portsmouth which serves four destinations in France and two in northern Spain. At the height of summer Portsmouth hosts up to ten departures a day, including a fast ferry which makes twice-daily crossings to Cherbourg. Around seventy percent of the total 2.5 million passengers carried by the company each year pass through the port, as well as around eighty percent of total freight carried.

In addition to Portsmouth, Brittany Ferries sails from Poole to Cherbourg (and Poole to Bilbao freight-only), and from Plymouth to Roscoff and Santander.

CBD5023D-D240-4CA6-BD8B-C2B4104B76C0.jpeg

62DD6AB8-76FD-4459-918F-AC96303B191D.jpeg

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