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Rosslare - Cherbourg starts 2 months early


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Given this is now official, I thought a new thread was appropriate.  Here is the press release

 

16 January 2021

Press Release

Brittany Ferries sailings connecting Cherbourg and Rosslare will commence Monday 18 January – two months earlier than originally planned

Brittany Ferries has moved quickly to support the freight sector and to meet the needs of an industry battling Brexit. It has today confirmed its new weekly crossing connecting Cherbourg with Rosslare, which was due to commence in March, will now begin on Monday 18 January 2021. This will initially be served by vessel, Cap Finistère.

Irish and French hauliers have traditionally relied on the UK-land bridge when transporting goods to and from mainland Europe. However, since the beginning of the year, more companies have sought an alternative to the additional administration, new formalities, greater costs and potential delays that come from carrying goods though the UK.

Brittany Ferries therefore confirms today that Cap Finistère will cover the twice weekly sailing connecting Rosslare and Bilbao, taking over from Connemara until 10 February. As a consequence of this ship’s flexibility, Brittany Ferries will also add a weekly rotation connecting Rosslare with Cherbourg to the schedule, opening this Ireland-France route two months earlier than originally planned.

“Brittany Ferries prides itself on decisive action, based on the flexibility of its fleet and we can meet the needs of the marketplace quickly,” said Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries CEO. “Cap Finistère is our fastest Ro-Ro vessel and she is therefore well suited to opening this new Brexit by-pass, making an additional sailing each week connecting France and Ireland.”

Glenn Carr, General Manager, Rosslare Europort said “all at Rosslare Europort welcome Brittany Ferries’ swift response to the needs of Irish industry in commencing this year’s Rosslare to Cherbourg services two months earlier than planned.  We have worked closely with Brittany Ferries in ensuring that arrangements for the service were quickly put in place, further cementing Rosslare Europort’s position as Ireland’s Gateway to Europe.”

The schedule for Cap Finistère’s twice-weekly Ireland-Spain service and once-weekly Ireland-France service is as follows:

Cap Finistère – revised schedule 17th January – 17th February 2021

Mondays           Depart Rosslare                20:00                     Arrive Cherbourg              13:30 next day

Tuesdays           Depart Cherbourg            16:45                     Arrive Rosslare                  07:00 next day

Wednesdays     Depart Rosslare                12:00                     Arrive Bilbao                      15:00 next day

Thursdays         Depart Bilbao                     17:45                  Arrive Rosslare                  20:15 next day

Fridays              Depart Rosslare                23:00                     Arrive Bilbao                      08:00 Sunday

Sundays            Depart Bilbao                     12:00                     Arrive Rosslare                 16:00 next day 

 

Cap Finistère is 204 metres long and weighs 33,000 gross tonnes. She entered service with Brittany Ferries in 2010, serving the company’s long-haul routes connecting Portsmouth (UK) and Santander and Bilbao (Northern Spain). She has plenty of space for drivers and passengers, with 265 en suite cabins. Her garage decks offer nearly 2km of space for freight vehicles, and she is the fastest ship in the fleet with a top cruising speed of 28 knots.

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Couple of pics from Rosslare Europort twitter of Cap Finistere alongside at Rosslare earlier today Rosslare Europort is delighted to welcome the first ever calling of the @BrittanyFerries vessel

Looking a bit busy around Rosslare & Waterford at the moment, Stena Embla is in the bay, Stena Europe crossing the Irish Sea, Optima Seaways, Cap Finistere & Isle of Inishmore on the berths, V

Most of our regular Irish truckers have either come up from Spain or Italy on long haul runs, or Parisien wholesale markets at the beginning of the week, plus still a few shellfish boys delivering to

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Thanks Rick.  Will be interesting to see if BF finds there is sufficient custom for this (fairly token compared with what its rivals have done but predictably cautious) single additional weekly round trip to consider expanding their Eire-France sailings further during the current period.

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2 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Thanks Rick.  Will be interesting to see if BF finds there is sufficient custom for this (fairly token compared with what its rivals have done but predictably cautious) single additional weekly round trip to consider expanding their Eire-France sailings further during the current period.

Indeed - all bets are off right now!

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29 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Thanks Rick.  Will be interesting to see if BF finds there is sufficient custom for this (fairly token compared with what its rivals have done but predictably cautious) single additional weekly round trip to consider expanding their Eire-France sailings further during the current period.

If they find that it is popular, it would be simple enough to keep it going with a dedicated ship on 3 crossings in addition from mid Feb - late March by not laying up CF. They could even continue past this by delaying CF's return to Spain.

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True.  I’d forgotten CF was due to be laid up.  Maybe, alternatively, keep CF on Rosslare-Bilbao and put Connemara on a dedicated Cherbourg (mainly freight) service?

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I like the look of that crossing on Wednesday from Rosslare to Bilbao at just 26 hours for the crossing , looks she'll be using that speed of hers ,I could make it to my place in France on the same day as the ferry arrives .

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1 minute ago, Gareth said:

True.  I’d forgotten CF was due to be laid up.  Maybe, alternatively, keep CF on Rosslare-Bilbao and put Connemara on a dedicated Cherbourg (mainly freight) service?

Yes either will be possible, it will depend on loading.

I also don't see Easter have much tourist traffic, therefore they can continue this for a while if needed.

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All these direct ferry services from Ireland to France - whatever the company, the ship, or the ports involved - sound good news to me - they all mean fewer HGVs on UK roads using the land bridge option. Bring it all on. 

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1 minute ago, wortley said:

All these direct ferry services from Ireland to France - whatever the company, the ship, or the ports involved - sound good news to me - they all mean fewer HGVs on UK roads using the land bridge option. Bring it all on. 

Will the laid off workers in Holyhead share your sentiment and the loss of income at the various services along the way.

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7 minutes ago, Chef said:

Will the laid off workers in Holyhead share your sentiment and the loss of income at the various services along the way.

Anglesey voted to leave the EU. This is the outcome they voted for. 

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5 minutes ago, wortley said:

Anglesey voted to leave the EU. This is the outcome they voted for. 

Indeed they did , and it's not exactly brimming with employment opportunities but I'm sure they knew what they were doing .

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Holyhead will still be a healthy ferry port and the primary port for UK-IRL traffic.  I agree about getting all those HGVs using the landbridge off our roads and crossing directly instead.  This can only be a good thing (as anyone familiar with how congested the England road networks are will recognise).

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3 minutes ago, Chef said:

Indeed they did , and it's not exactly brimming with employment opportunities but I'm sure they knew what they were doing .

The ports are now creating  more skilled jobs to cope with all of the border functions. However we will see what happens on the route in 6 months time when the paperwork has been sorted out and covid has died down.

The Irish who just transit the UK have simple paperwork, it is only an issue if they drop off / pick up on the way, however they will still lose their sandwiches !

At least we will save in the cost of  testing the Irish truckers at the moment,

 

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Two points on the discussions;

1. Once again, anything is possible or nothing is possible.  If a dedicated Rosslare - Cherbourg service happened, it would make more sense to use CAP FINISTERE rather than CONNEMARA as more drivers can be carried on CF when it is 1 driver per cabin.

 

2. Holyhead will bounce back - maybe with some loss to Direct routes but it's not going to die.  (The Rosslare - Wales routes are a different discussion where there has only been enough traffic for one operator for years now).  We have already seen traffic bouncing back on GB - NI routes.  In very, very simple terms NI - GB is one set of paperwork and ROI - GB is two sets of paperwork.  That's a gross over-simplification but basically as hauliers get used to the paperwork and Covid restrictions ease, a lot of traffic avoiding the landbridge will return to it.  Everybody in the industry knows this.

 

On another note - can I appeal to everyone (especially the Moderators) can we keep a focus entirely on ferries here and not going back to a referendum nearly 5 years ago.  What is happening in the ferry industry today is all we should be debating here.

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4 minutes ago, RickOShea said:

On another note - can I appeal to everyone (especially the Moderators) can we keep a focus entirely on ferries here and not going back to a referendum nearly 5 years ago.  What is happening in the ferry industry today is all we should be debating here.

Seconded, thanks Rick.  We actually do try to do that across the whole forum (keep it on topic, which is ferries, because this is a Ferry forum and that’s why it exists.

Sometimes people cannot stop themselves, but it is worth reminding everyone of our standard policy, that this is a no-politics forum and posts that try to take threads in a political direction are liable to be removed without further correspondence.

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10 minutes ago, RickOShea said:

In very, very simple terms NI - GB is one set of paperwork and ROI - GB is two sets of paperwork.

ROI- EU via GB should be even simpler (assuming they still use TIR)

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On the subject of Holyhead, there is a parallel thread in the OHC forum entitled Rosslare Europort, in which there is a discussion taking place about where the 20% or so decline in UK-Eire traffic may be felt.  The consensus so far in that discussion is that it is unlikely to be at Holyhead.

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Sounds really good for Cherbourg these last weeks. I hope the flows will at least provide sufficient traffic to justify one departure per day towards Ireland. Will be very intersting to see how things will work with the rail terminal and if Stena pursue their weekly rotation from Dublin (which I doubt). 

Unquestionably, BF made the right move, but maybe they could have done something a bit more shaky to take a bigger slice of that surging traffic towards the continent. Nevertheless, they are making big cash on Ireland-Spain route. 

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3 minutes ago, CH1 said:

Sounds really good for Cherbourg these last weeks. I hope the flows will at least provide sufficient traffic to justify one departure per day towards Ireland. Will be very intersting to see how things will work with the rail terminal and if Stena pursue their weekly rotation from Dublin (which I doubt). 

 

I wouldn't rule out that long-term the weekend Dublin - Cherbourg Stena trip remains, its the quietest point in the week on the Holyhead route.  But we will seee.

I think your comment is a fair one and a view I'd share.  All this capacity simply won't continue on Ireland - France but the most likely outcome is at least one daily sailing each way on Rosslare - Cherbourg

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9 minutes ago, BigDW1946 said:

Good to see this route going ahead, but timetable on ie website only shows this coming Monday's departure or is the route destined to be freight only at this stage?

It’s the same on the freight timetables, just the one round trip next week.  I think they’ll take stock of loadings for that sailing before making a decision about adding the rest.

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I can't see Cap Finistere sailing from Rosslare for longer than is necessary whilst Connemara covers for Pelican. She has fundamental mechanical obstacles which prevent it without either significant docking or continue to run her on more expensive fuel which obviates the expensive SCR's she's been fitted with.

She has open loop scrubbers. It's the reason why unlike other fleet members she's docked every year.

 

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4 minutes ago, jonno said:

I can't see Cap Finistere sailing from Rosslare for longer than is necessary whilst Connemara covers for Pelican. She has fundamental mechanical obstacles which prevent it without either significant docking or continue to run her on more expensive fuel which obviates the expensive SCR's she's been fitted with.

She has open loop scrubbers. It's the reason why unlike other fleet members she's docked every year.

 

I don't think that there will be any subtle decisions, it will be more like 'if we run this next month will we make money out of it'. With BF at present cash is king.

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I agree with almost everything written above except that crossing borders is just completing paperwork. While paperwork (and COVID) is causing the most serious issues nowadays, the landbridge will always be slower than it was until 31/12/2020.

Most if not all external borders of the EU result in substantial delays for transporters even Switzerland (excellent checkpoint infrastructure, an advanced IT solution but an average truck delay of 90 minutes), Turkey (part of the customs unions, average truck delay exceeding 5 hours), and Ukraine (which has a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU, average delay exceeding 10 hours). 

These are all road borders with traffic arriving progressively unlike ferries that see a few dozen trucks rolling off minutes apart. While I don't imagine trucks will be waiting for hours coming off a ferry (the UK is hiring enough customs officers to ensure that won't be the case), it will never be fully painless. 

Let's also not forget that both the UK and Ireland are applying the absolute minimum customs controls right now. These will get stricter in April, and again in June will all required customs controls should be implemented. 

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