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New Routes Ireland - St Malo / Roscoff


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Armorique’s Ireland - Brittany sailings have gone into the timetables for another week.  Now scheduled to stay on this sailing pattern until at least 13 March.

 

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Few pics of Armorique arriving in Rosslare from Rosslare Europort twitter

I think we can safely say it is news if the President of the company has announced it   It looks like the President of the Brittany region jumped the gun a bit and then Jean-Marc Roue joined in.

My children also help to keep the Bay of St. Malo free of sand by putting as much of it as possible in the car every time we visit Normandy. Ed

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27 minutes ago, Andy said:

An interestingTF1 French TV news report highlighting the rise in direct links to France from Ireland.

https://www.tf1.fr/tf1/jt-20h/videos/brexit-les-liaisons-maritimes-de-lirlande-vers-la-france-explosent-33236733.html

Yes, that was on last night I think (or perhaps Thursday) with their journalist (Michel SCOTT who covers everything from war-zones to elections) travelling from Dublin to Cherbourg and speaking to the drivers and port managers involved.

Ed

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On 26/02/2021 at 20:22, colin said:

Without verification, I hear of better loading volumes in and out.

Which would tie in with your notion about the local infrastructure.

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On 01/03/2021 at 18:09, Gareth said:

Armorique’s Ireland - Brittany sailings have gone into the timetables for another week.  Now scheduled to stay on this sailing pattern until at least 13 March.

 

I did comment elsewhere, but for completeness here.  These sailings will now run until mid-May.

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Only 7 trucks came off Armorique in St Malo today ...

Some photos from the cockpit of our boat, currently ashore at the Sablons where I am stripping and redoing varnish.

IMG20210421130442.jpg

IMG20210421130904.jpg

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It’s very tenuous, Colin, isn’t it, as to whether this subsidy is a good use of money?  Would be interesting to know how the loadings are on the Poole route compared with the Cork route.  Mind you, it’s only been going a couple of weeks whereas Ireland has been going a couple of months.  But you can’t help feeling there must be traffic that would have been using the Poole-Cherbourg route that would be finding the Poole-St Malo route attractive?

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1 hour ago, Gareth said:

It’s very tenuous, Colin, isn’t it, as to whether this subsidy is a good use of money?  Would be interesting to know how the loadings are on the Poole route compared with the Cork route.  Mind you, it’s only been going a couple of weeks whereas Ireland has been going a couple of months.  But you can’t help feeling there must be traffic that would have been using the Poole-Cherbourg route that would be finding the Poole-St Malo route attractive?

I will probably be hard at work on my varnish over the next several days, so I will try and keep a look out and ferret any gossip.

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Seven trucks is shocking. The Stena sailings to Cherbourg and DFDS sailings to Dunkerque continue to be very full. 

Is Cork that unattractive or is it a failure of BF marketing? Maybe fares are not sufficiently competitive with Cherbourg? Or some other factor...?

It is obvious the real purpose of the subsidy is to preserve jobs, but I would have hoped they might be able to attract some kind of market at the same time (in the current context). Surely the marginal cost of having extra trucks on a ship is very small, so any traffic they could possibly steal from Stena/IF at Cherbourg would be worth having even at very low fares.

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The Cork-Roscoff route has always been seasonal for a reason.  Whatever perverse and incomprehensible reasons there might be for subsidising an off-season Cork - Brittany service, catering for a market demand is not one of them.  I guess you have to be French to understand it.

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33 minutes ago, lg12 said:

Seven trucks is shocking. The Stena sailings to Cherbourg and DFDS sailings to Dunkerque continue to be very full. 

Is Cork that unattractive or is it a failure of BF marketing? Maybe fares are not sufficiently competitive with Cherbourg? Or some other factor...?

 

 

I'm sure the reasons are multi-faceted. But I will speculate:

- Cork is a port in the southern part of Ireland. A lot industry is on the eastern seaboard

- Sailings to St. Malo might not help. How well is this port known by hauliers? Cherbourg has much better name recognition. This might sound trivial but can play in important role. The airline industry knows this too well. Paris-Beauvais and Skavsta-Stockholm airport...anyone. Need I say more...

- Cherbourg and Dunkerque are closer to the Benelux countries, Germany and E. Europe. Higher freight volumes emanate and are transported to those countries than France / Spain.

- Hauliers might not be using BF because of lower frequency of sailings compared to Stena or Dunkerque.

- Marketing - Pretty consumer-oriented ads of the Mont St Michel (the island not the ship...) at sunset or imagery of baguettes, wine and 2CVs will probably not wash with freight customers. Neither will the allure of a la carte dining or luxury ships...The latter type of customer wants frequent sailings to close-to-market ports. For a new route, these customers are probably acquired by business development teams (read sales teams).  A quick sleuth of LinkedIn shows operators like DFDS have a small army of business development managers. For BF, only one person shows up with this title. BF, has always been a consumer-oriented rather than freight-oriented company. This is partly what has made them unique. However,  in times of crisis, it's also their Achilles heal.

 

 

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One of the strangest things was the dropping of the Rosslare link.  Of all the ports being served by Armorique’s temporary schedule, you’d think that was the one most likely to have been of interest to the hauliers.

I suspect there would have been much greater demand for the Rosslare-Le Havre route we are told they looked into before starting the Ireland-Brittany rotations.  A route providing a half-way house between the established routes to Cherbourg and the long crossing to Dunkerque, still heading into the heart of industrial mainland Europe but with the ability to get an extra rotation per week out of the ship.  Hard to understand why they went for Brittany over Le Havre, especially for a company in dire need of generating income, other than the quirks of French politics.

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46 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Hard to understand why they went for Brittany over Le Havre,

Isn't it perhaps something to do with which region actually owns the ship and therefore dictates where she should operate?

Ed

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30 minutes ago, Cabin-boy said:

Isn't it perhaps something to do with which region actually owns the ship and therefore dictates where she should operate?

Ed

Yes, that’s the bit that I think it’s hard for people outside France to understand.  That decisions about commercial strategy are made primarily around regional politics rather than generating revenue.  But that’s what makes BF different from any normal ferry company.

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6 hours ago, Gareth said:

I suppose in part it may come down to the level of the subsidy.  Is it such that BF could run the ship empty and still not make a loss?

This is what I'm suspecting. 

Running an sailing with just 7 trucks is crazy. Assuming a similar capacity outbound, financially it probably would have been cheaper for BF to tie the ship up and put the trucks and their drivers on an IF, DFDS or Stena sailing.

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23 hours ago, Gareth said:

It’s very tenuous, Colin, isn’t it, as to whether this subsidy is a good use of money?  Would be interesting to know how the loadings are on the Poole route compared with the Cork route.  Mind you, it’s only been going a couple of weeks whereas Ireland has been going a couple of months.  But you can’t help feeling there must be traffic that would have been using the Poole-Cherbourg route that would be finding the Poole-St Malo route attractive?

Perhaps a spot of advertising might help get some trade. The temporary Poole St Malo route does not appear on the BF website timetables, and the Poole Harbour Commissioners don't mention the route in their news. Meanwhile Armorique has been in Poole all day.

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2 minutes ago, Trun said:

Perhaps a spot of advertising might help get some trade. The temporary Poole St Malo route does not appear on the BF website timetables, and the Poole Harbour Commissioners don't mention the route in their news. Meanwhile Armorique has been in Poole all day.

Yes indeed - when she could do a round trip to Cherbourg.  It’s all about BF internal regional politics, nothing to do with commercial sense.

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The only thing that is going to put things to rights is if France can reduce infection levels to those in the UK (and that UK levels don't rise from current levels.)

If that happy situation comes about then thre will be a huge demand for passenger sailings.

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Make of this what you will .... Armorique arrived in St Malo at lunchtime today and, unless I went temporarily blind, unloaded zero trucks, trailers or anything else. Does this simply mean that the Ireland-St Malo service is a failure, but that the Poole and back service is viable? Sadly due to timings, I can't tell what loadings are for that.

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11 hours ago, colin said:

Make of this what you will ....

Maybe BF is so rolling in spare cash that they’re doing the sailing for fun.  It is, after all, a very pretty route.

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2 hours ago, Gareth said:

Maybe BF is so rolling in spare cash that they’re doing the sailing for fun.  It is, after all, a very pretty route.

Just think how much they could make by selling passenger tickets so we can all enjoy the views.

Ed

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She was sitting in Poole this morning when I had my 2nd jab. Last time it was the Cotentin. Perhaps they are being used to entertain people being jabbed. No sign of any activity around her today though, but I did see 1 LK Walter's lorry heading over Poole Bridge away from the port.

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