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Cork-Santander to become Rosslare-Bilbao

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Official Press Release is out... https://brittanyferriesnewsroom.com/brittany-ferries-maintains-commitment-to-its-ireland-spain-route-but-moves-departure-port-to-rosslare/

 

  • Rosslare-Bilbao replaces Cork-Santander as key freight route to Europe
  • The change is in response to demand from Irish and continental hauliers
  • Company confirms ongoing commitment to Cork-Roscoff, which will continue to be primary tourism route
  • New Rosslare services will include an Ireland-France rotation to Roscoff
  • Rosslare sailings to commence 28 February 2020

Brittany Ferries has announced that it is to move its Ireland/Spain sailings from Cork to Rosslare Europort, with the first sailing due to take place on 28 February. The new Spanish arrival port from Rosslare will be Bilbao.  In making its announcement, Brittany Ferries nevertheless emphasised its continuing commitment to its popular Cork-Roscoff route which celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 2018.  Each year the Cork-Roscoff route carries nearly 100,000 holidaymakers between Ireland and France.

“This was not a decision we took lightly and follows extensive consultation with our freight customers who sought better road connections and reduced driving distances,” said Christophe Mathieu Brittany Ferries CEO. “We opened the route in 2018 with a two-year trial window. While passenger numbers have been encouraging, the reality is that freight numbers, which are key to route viability, were not sufficiently robust.  However I want to make it clear that we remain committed to Cork, with our flagship Pont-Aven cruise-ferry service to Roscoff. We’re also committed to an Ireland-Spain route, now via Rosslare, and we’ll look after existing passengers whose future travel will be affected by this change.”

All customers already booked on affected sailings from Cork will be given the option to transfer their booking to sailing between Rosslare and Bilbao/Roscoff. An allowance will be given to cover additional transfers. Alternatively, a full refund will be provided to those who choose to cancel.

The Cork-Santander route which was launched in 2018 was primarily aimed at the freight market into Europe although it also carried holidaymakers, with an ‘économie’ no-frills onboard experience. The new route out of Rosslare will again concentrate on freight with an option for holidaymakers.

Glenn Carr, General Manager, Rosslare Europort said: “We are delighted to welcome Brittany Ferries to Rosslare Europort.  This new Rosslare to Bilbao service will be attractive for trade and tourism alike.  We very much welcome that this service is being launched because of demand from freight customers, due to Rosslare’s strategic position and access to key markets.  Brittany Ferries will also benefit from our €25 million investment in port facilities, infrastructure and technology, as part of the Port’s strategic plan.  We look forward to working closely with Brittany Ferries to ensuring the success of their new service.”

 Why Rosslare – Bilbao?

The consensus among hauliers is that Rosslare, with its proximity to Dublin and the east coast road network, is a preferred option.  Equally hauliers operating on the European mainland noted that Bilbao is more attuned to freight traffic and has easier transport links into Europe. Detailed discussions also took place with the Ports of Cork and Rosslare. The company has confirmed that Cork-Roscoff will remain a vital route for tourism, both into and out of Ireland.

As with the current Cork-Santander sailings, the new Rosslare-Bilbao sailing will be twice-weekly and will incorporate a weekly Ireland/France rotation.  It is expected that despite the concentration on freight, the route will carry a number of holidaymakers to both Spain and France.  This has been the experience with the existing Cork-Santander route.

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1 minute ago, neilcvx said:

So is Cork dead in the water as a BF port? Sure it’s been mentioned but does Cap fit in Rosslare?

Yes, Cap will fit Rosslare.  There is speculation that BF may open a Rosslare - Le Havre route using CF once she has been displaced by one of the Flexers next year.  Being discussed in the Le Havre thread that is running in parallel with this one.

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Thanks Jim.  So BF not pulling out of Cork.  Told you they've never pulled out of a port yet, and clearly aren't about to start now! :D

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30 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Thanks Jim.  So BF not pulling out of Cork.  Told you they've never pulled out of a port yet, and clearly aren't about to start now! :D

Not at this time, but its well sidelined and I would think they would look seriously, going forward, at making that passenger change at the appropriate time. Also they seem to be maintaining routes from Roscoff to both Cork and Rosslare so more choice seasonally for passengers.

Edited by Paully

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Rosslare to Bilbao must be a long sailing surely it wouldn’t appeal to many tourists, but then that doesn’t seem to bother BF rightly so it would appear.

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My prediction was spot on then? Shame that my post explaining why this rather than a link to Le Havre would be the more realistic announcement were deleted... No matter.

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5 minutes ago, jonno said:

My prediction was spot on then? Shame that my post explaining why this rather than a link to Le Havre would be the more realistic announcement were deleted... No matter.

I may stand to be corrected, but not aware and can't see a post having been deleted? Can you drop me a DM please jonno and I'll do a bit more digging?

5 minutes ago, TonyMWeaver said:

I'm going to gamble that a Rosslare/Le Havre service will happen. Cap Finistere did berthing trials there before Christmas, there must have been a reason for that.

Quite possibly - once the 3 new ships on the way arrive (and assuming Bretagne will go ay some point) this could well be an option.

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1 minute ago, TonyMWeaver said:

I'm going to gamble that a Rosslare/Le Havre service will happen. Cap Finistere did berthing trials there before Christmas, there must have been a reason for that.

Yep, she's taking over the BDS timetable when Galicia arrives. Haropa have said the berth can accept 205m max. A Rosslare service to Le Havre will begin but it'll be Stena, a company already established at Rosslare, and not BF.

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Just now, Jim said:

I may stand to be corrected, but not aware and can't see a post having been deleted? Can you drop me a DM please jonno and I'll do a bit more digging?

Quite possibly - once the 3 new ships on the way arrive (and assuming Bretagne will go ay some point) this could well be an option.

I'm sure they won't mind me saying this, I've just spoken to BF via e-mail with that Rosslare/Le Havre question. Their answer was "Absolutely not, there are no plans for that".

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Just now, TonyMWeaver said:

I'm sure they won't mind me saying this, I've just spoken to BF via e-mail with that Rosslare/Le Havre question. Their answer was "Absolutely not, there are no plans for that".

... and a couple of days ago the timetable said Kerry would be sailing Cork <> Santander this summer ;). That's not to say it will happen by any stretch of the imagination - but times and circumstances change. Never say never.

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31 minutes ago, jonno said:

My prediction was spot on then? Shame that my post explaining why this rather than a link to Le Havre would be the more realistic announcement were deleted... No matter.

A wholehearted apology to our administrators and moderators. I of course, and not for the first time, have been proven wrong.

Nothing has been deleted, just my brain.

... It was posted in the Le Havre thread. In my (weak) defence Gareth did mention that we were possibly in danger crossing our wires. 

I'm off to stand on the naughty step.

Iain.

Edited by jonno
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Another interesting development today in relation to Rosslare was the opening of the new 41 km New Ross bypass  and 900 mtr bridge over the River Barrow , this bypass will reduce travel time from Cork to Rosslare by around 30 min . In the past , traffic going trough New Ross could be held up by 20 to 60 min on some occasions . 

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So would Cap takeover the Rosslare Bilbao sailing once the Economie ships charters are up and the eflexers start arriving ?

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On ‎24‎/‎01‎/‎2020 at 11:09, Gareth said:

My thought too.  Neither can it (yet) be considered "news".  Have moved to a more appropriate place.

NOW it's "news"!  Moved again!

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2 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

So would Cap takeover the Rosslare Bilbao sailing once the Economie ships charters are up and the eflexers start arriving ?

Not sure any of us can answer questions about "would" at this stage.  But if the speculation about Rosslare-Le Havre is inaccurate then, yes , I'd think that could be a prime possibility for CF once displaced at Portsmouth.  I'm pretty sure we've already had it confirmed in one of those BF tweets that people like posting that she will be staying in the fleet.  Thinking on my feet, she would even probably be able to do three round trips a week - with one diverted to Roscoff in one direction for crew change, similarly to her Portsmouth roster now.  I guess they will want to evaluate the effect on traffic of the move to Rosslare before making any firm plans that far ahead.

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So the plan for the annual trip to France this year was to sail in and out of Cork (for the first time since 2010). Finish work Monday evening at 6pm and after dinner pack the car and make the 25 minute drive to Ringaskiddy. However it looks like its a day off work and a drive to Rosslare   ;)

Sailing date: 29/06/20

I'm writing to you today to confirm important changes to your booking and our économie services between Ireland, Spain and France.

From the 28th February 2020 we are moving our scheduled sailings from Cork to Santander to the ports of Rosslare and Bilbao. Additionally our midweek économie sailing from Cork to Roscoff will now operate from Rosslare.

I'm sorry to confirm your forthcoming sailing is among those affected. The dates of your sailing will not change and we will email you separately to confirm departure times within two weeks.

We hope you will still choose to travel with us and, if you do, you'll receive a contribution to your onward travel costs to cover the distance between the original ports booked and our new destinations. We will arrange this for you. If you now no longer wish to travel with us, please reply by email to sailing.changes@brittanyferries.com or over the phone on +353 (0)21 425 3117 to confirm you wish to cancel within 14 days and we'll arrange a refund for you.

Please note our classic cruise-ferry services between Cork and Roscoff remain unchanged.

We've decided to change our économie services on the back of significant customer demand, especially from our freight customers who are vital to the ongoing success and viability of our Ireland to Spain services. The road networks into and out of Rosslare and Bilbao are more convenient for many customers, and critically, most hauliers. We need to adapt to their needs, although I acknowledge and regret this may be inconvenient for others.

As things stand, we are determined to continue offering fabulous holidays to Spain for our Irish customers but need to make these important changes to grow our market share and maintain the route's viability.

Please click here https://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/ferry-routes/planning/ports/bilbao to learn more about Bilbao, including our port and its facilities.

If you have more than one sailing booked on any of our affected routes, we will be in touch again, by email and SMS to confirm changes. In the meantime I hope we can welcome you on board soon.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your custom and understanding.

Yours sincerely,

Hugh Bruton
General Manager
Brittany Ferries Ireland

 

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Interesting development, but not totally unforeseen

22 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

So would Cap takeover the Rosslare Bilbao sailing once the Economie ships charters are up and the eflexers start arriving ?

I am guessing that now Rosslare is the Irish port, Santona is also a possibility. Besides, when she was announced, it was not revealed what route she would be serving.

My guess is then: 

Portsmouth to Santander/Bilbao (Galicia, Salamanca, Santona/Cap Finistere)
Plymouth to Santander (Pont-Aven)
Rosslare to Bilbao (Santona/Cap Finistere) 

1 hour ago, jonno said:

Yep, she's taking over the BDS timetable when Galicia arrives. Haropa have said the berth can accept 205m max. A Rosslare service to Le Havre will begin but it'll be Stena, a company already established at Rosslare, and not BF.

Given recent discussions on service speed, etc. I would think that Galicia will take the BDS timetable. Le Havre is an issue but she may just operate a rotation to Cherbourg instead, as Normandie will be able to operate extra instead. 

When Salamanca arrives, I reckon the timetable will be rewritten. As discussed a while back, I still think daily sailings on a 3-day rotation is the best idea. 

Outbound. Sailings depart Portsmouth at 10:00 and arrive at 15:00 (28 hours)
Return. Sailings depart Spain at 18:00 and arrive at 21:00 (28 hours). The vessel will then stay in port overnight. This is because 2-night sailings may be unattractive to customers. However, some sailings will arrive at 07:00 (and thus be 2 nights) the following morning to accommodate a crew change at Cherbourg as no rotations to France will be operated. 

Of course, the above could happen the other way round. 

Apologies that this post has covered a number of different threads, I am just responding my thoughts to the quotes above. 

 

Edited by georgem7
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Books trip on Monday, Rumours on Tuesday, moved to Rosslare on Wednesday.
 

No matter how much I try and avoid using Rosslare I keep winding up back there!!😂😂

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If Santona takes over Rosslare wonder if Cap would move to Plymouth, thereby allowing Pont to go to St. Malo. Was reading the project pegasis blurb again, and at that time Pont was moving to St. Malo. At a planned length of 210m there must have been plans afoot for Cork to take pegasis, they could take Cap...

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