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Irish Ferries launches new Calais-Dover service in June 2021


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Not the correct place to post this but apart from photos of Blue Star 1 arriving in Rosslare this morning, which I’m sure will appear soon, a chum sent me this great picture of WB Y leaving Dublin Por

No, that would be Gosport.  Ed

It makes you wonder why they don't also launch a Portsmouth to Le Havre route using 'the ship formerly known as Honfleur'. They could call her the 'Blimey O'Riley'.  Ed

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Totally agree! I knew there was an announcement coming today and spent most of last night speculating with a few Irish chums what it would be about but this one is completely out of the blue....

Chris

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1st April is next Thursday isn't it? This will no doubt take a lot of people by surprise. Presumably this is connected with the charter of the Blue Star 1, will she take over from Isle of Inishmore? 

Also, will the Isle of Inishmore need modifications for Dover-Calais? It's quite a niche operation and not what she was built for. 

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8 minutes ago, Ryan_H said:

1st April is next Thursday isn't it? This will no doubt take a lot of people by surprise. Presumably this is connected with the charter of the Blue Star 1, will she take over from Isle of Inishmore? 

Also, will the Isle of Inishmore need modifications for Dover-Calais? It's quite a niche operation and not what she was built for. 

According to this RTE report Blue Star 1 is going to replace Inishmore on Rosslare Pembroke

https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2021/0326/1206241-irish-ferries-new-route/

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https://www.irishtimes.com/business/transport-and-tourism/irish-ferries-to-operate-new-service-on-the-dover-calais-route-1.4520765

 

This morning, several press articles reported that Irish Ferries is about to start its own Calais Dover service in June 2021. 

According to this new service timing, my bet is that IF will buy or charter the ex-Calais Seaways which will cease service for DFDS the same month, to "add capacity" as stated in the article.  

Edited by CH1
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34 minutes ago, CH1 said:

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/transport-and-tourism/irish-ferries-to-operate-new-service-on-the-dover-calais-route-1.4520765

 

This morning, several press articles reported that Irish Ferries is about to start its own Calais Dover service in June 2021. 

According to this new service timing, my bet is that IF will buy or charter the ex-Calais Seaways which will cease service for DFDS the same month, to "add capacity" as stated in the article.  

Well that is a surprise!

The article does say that it will be the Isle of Inishmore to start but a two ship service makes sense. Given that Blue Star 1 has a low freight but high capacity, is there any chance she will end up in Dover, her speed could be useful in providing a frequent service. Meanwhile, which ship will take over from the Inishmore?

 

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I think that given the low lanemeters Blue Star 1 has, she will be a lot more useful on the Rosslare-Pembroke route. My colleagues on the Calais-Dover route are saying that it is fully packed with freight, so I would better see Isle of Inishmore and another high-capacity vessel on that service rather than a ship with huge pax facilities. They rarely go over 1200 pax on the Calais-Dover route, except at summer.

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3 minutes ago, CH1 said:

I think that given the low lanemeters Blue Star 1 has, she will be a lot more useful on the Rosslare-Pembroke route. My colleagues on the Calais-Dover route are saying that it is fully packed with freight, so I would better see Isle of Inishmore and another high-capacity vessel on that service rather than a ship with huge pax facilities. They rarely go over 1200 pax on the Calais-Dover route, except at summer.

Blue Star 1 going to replace Inishmore the Rosslare Pembroke route  https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2021/0326/1206241-irish-ferries-new-route/

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15 minutes ago, Pegpilot said:

Any potential issues with the French unions if it's exotically flagged or crewed ?  Don't IF already have eastern European crews on their Irish Sea services ?

Very true. Although the entire P&O fleet at Dover now sails under the Cypriot flag too. I'm not sure how their's and Irish ferries crewing policies differ in reality?

Edited by Ryan_H
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6 hours ago, Pegpilot said:

Any potential issues with the French unions if it's exotically flagged or crewed ?  Don't IF already have eastern European crews on their Irish Sea services ?

They have ignored ships sailing to Brittany and Normandy for years (apart from a few incidents when the Normandy was flagged out).

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Fair point. But DFDS certainly followed the path of least political resistance when they took on the Berlioz and the Rodin from the Seafrance/MyFerryLink/Eurotunnel wreckage. Guess we'll just have to see what happens ......

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I really don't know what IF are up to here. To date, they have made some very canny business decisions. I'm not so sure about this one.

On the most operationally intensive ferry routes in the world, they are putting a 23-year old ship. 

They are launching a one-ship operation which means means if the old girl breaks down or has door issues, their time-sensitive freight customers will be stuck.

IF have no economies of scale at Dover or Calais thus cost-wise (for IF), thus per truck or per car, this service will probably have the highest break-even point of all operators on this route. 

I can fully understand that IF freight customers want the ability for their trucks to pick up or drop off loads in the UK en route or returning from to the continent. But is this really the best solution? Could IF not have struck a deal with P&0 or DFDS for their freight customers on Dover-Calais? This would have a given them a turnkey solution for their customers. The airline industry knows only too well that launching a one aircraft operation against entrenched competition on a competitive route usually ends in tears. Therefore, the airlines invented code-sharing to prevent this from happening.

I do hope this service succeeds for IF and I hope they've done their homework!

 

 

Edited by zuludelta
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Norfolkline started there 20-odd years ago with a single freight ship operation to DKK, you’ve got to start somewhere.

IF may not have the economies of scale (yet), but can start from a lower cost base and fewer legacy costs. 
DFDS only ran 2 Calais ships for a while and MFL ran just the 2 pax ships (plus NPC) so could be possible to compete with only 2 or 3 ships. 

Edited by hoverport
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5 hours ago, zuludelta said:

I really don't know what IF are up to here. To date, they have made some very canny business decisions. I'm not so sure about this one.

I agree it's a bit odd, but IF have been claiming since the start of the year landbridge is where the business is, and it will return after the move to direct routes the last few months.

They have obviously done their research here, and they have checked with the hauliers before announcing it.

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There was a time, back in the days of the early 80s, when of the 10 ferries or so regularly sailing out of Calais to Dover/Folkestone, only two were French-flagged.  The remainder flew the red ensign.  So not sure why the French unions would have a problem with this?  Another ferry is more business for the port, more work for the dockers, and more custom passing through the town.

I guess if there was any suggestion that this would be at the expense of one of the French-flagged ferries that might be a slightly different matter, but that’s not the case (is it?).  I’m presuming that IF’s interest here is fairly niche, to provide integrated through-travel for their landbridge customers.  (I wonder even, for that reason, whether their interest might only be in freight?).

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