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Messages - Steven

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1
The News Board / Re: Irish Ferries HUll 777
« on: October 19, 2020, 11:43:08 pm »
Following the cancellation of the new build an extension to the charter of Epsilon has been agreed until November 2021 with options to extend beyond that. The deposit of ?33 million paid to FSG has been returned to ICG and they have entered into preliminary talks with a number of other shipyards for the construction of ship similar in design to 777.
It was a while ago (months) so cant remember the source but Eamonn Rothwell himself is quoted as saying any new build order is 2 years off.  They are essentially starting from scratch (FSG wasn't just the builder of 777 but also designer).

To be honest, all shipping operators could be doing with all the liquidity they can get at present rather than having money tied up in new tonnage.

2
The News Board / Re: P&O
« on: October 19, 2020, 11:41:26 pm »
P&O are to close their HUll to Zeebrugge route according to local media (Hull Live).The two vessels on the route Prides of York and Bruges both built in 1987 are to be scrapped. It is also being rumoured that two other of their channel fleet are also to be disposed of.
No reason to think they will definitely be scrapped although it's a tough time for operators looking to buy new tonnage and they aren't in great condition.

With the demise of the Pride of York there won't be a significant UK-built passenger ship sailing from this country for what must be the first time in about 300 years  :-\

Indeed.  One thing in their favour is the approved facilities at Aliaga are rather busy with cruise ships at present, and I assume the scrap price isn't great either given scrap metal isn't in short supply at present.

Interestingly there have been reports that cruise ships have been sold below scrap value just to move them on!

3
The News Board / Re: Irish Ferries Fleet movements
« on: October 19, 2020, 11:39:17 pm »
A body has been located on the shore on Anglesey, near Carmel head.

https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/body-found-search-missing-irish-19068501

Sad to report the ID was positive

4
The News Board / Re: Duty Free IS Back On Irish Sea
« on: October 19, 2020, 04:31:42 pm »
Always best to use an official source IMO

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/duty-free-extended-to-the-eu-from-january-2021

Quote
New GB inbound personal allowances specified below. For example, someone will be able to bring three crates of beer, two cases of still wine and one case of sparkling wine to GB without paying UK duties.

Alcohol
42 litres of beer
18 litres of still wine
4 litres of spirits OR 9 litres of sparkling wine, fortified wine or any alcoholic beverage less than 22% ABV
Tobacco
200 cigarettes OR
100 cigarillos OR
50 cigars OR
250g tobacco OR
200 sticks of tobacco for heating
or any proportional combination of the above

No idea if Ireland has increased its non-EU limits specifically for the UK but I suspect their hands may be somewhat tied.

5
The News Board / Re: Duty Free IS Back On Irish Sea
« on: October 19, 2020, 04:25:50 pm »
The amount one can bring in to the UK seems to have been determined by a beer and spirit man /woman.

In my reckoning 3 cases of beer means 72 bottles,  4 litres of spirits is 5 bottles but 2 cases of wine is only 12 bottles, 12 bottles  won't last the winter.

Why this discrimination against lovers of the fruit of vine?
Still more than the current limits for those coming into the UK from outside the EU (including IIRC the Canary Islands) which is as following

Quote
beer - 16 litres
wine (not sparkling) - 4 litres
You can also bring in either:

spirits and other liquors over 22% alcohol - 1 litre
fortified wine (for example port, sherry), sparkling wine and alcoholic drinks up to 22% alcohol - 2 litres.

Quote
You can bring in one from the following:

200 cigarettes
100 cigarillos
50 cigars
250g tobacco
You can split this allowance - so you could bring in 100 cigarettes and 25 cigars (both half of your allowance

For Ireland the duty free allowance from outside the EU is as follows

Quote
200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of smoking tobacco (Allowances are on a fractional basis, for example 100 cigarettes plus 50 cigarillos would be the limit together.)
1 litre of spirits (more than 22%) or 2 litres of intermediate products (e.g. port, sherry, etc. but not sparkling wine)
4 litres of wine or 16 litres of beer
50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette

If these limits apply its not going to be much of a duty free bonanza!  The limits are based on the domestic duty applied to products which is very different depending on the product.

6
More on the potential for capacity being added by an existing operator here

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/brexit-buster-can-dramatically-increase-direct-ferries-to-europe-1.4384469

And a key quote

Quote
"The company, which began sailing to Dublin in 2009, accounts for 40 per cent of all units moved between Dublin and continental Europe, averaging about 4,500 freight units a week or 116,000 a year each way."

7
A few points on this discussion

Le Havre from a ferry operator point of view is further away than Cherbourg for not a lot of benefit but increased cost and reduced utilisation.  From a haulier point of view they are potentially paying a driver to sit on a ship longer when they could be overtaking the ship on the road.

Running a ship at a "steady 25 knots" is pretty much out of the question.  Most ships likely to be employed on such a service aren't even capable of 25 knots!  Rosslare - Dunkirk might make more sense for a CLdN style unaccompanied service.  Speaking of which, I'm not sure CLdN/Cobelfret have any intention of taking drivers again, particularly on the longer sectors such as Ireland to Europe.  They've briefed press about how their costs are lower as they don't carry drivers for example.

The supply of suitable vessels for freight orientated services isn't that good at present, its passenger vessels like Stena Saga and Pride of York which are "spare".  Running the more passenger orientated vessels, even with subsidy, is unlikely to be very profitable IMO.

Its not often mentioned, but at present Ireland - France is oversupplied already (hence Brittany Ferries freight orientated service to France being seasonal, and Stena being able to put less than ideal (and in the case of Vinga, smaller) vessels on their Cherbourg route if Horizon is required elsewhere.  The most logical option to increase capacity would be Stena doubling frequency to Cherbourg, something that wouldn't be that hard to do considering they have ships which appear to be spare.  One of Flavia or Scottish Viking should be spare in January, and Stena Vinga is obviously already surplus to requirements anyway.  Hence her little excursion to our waters.  Its also a fact that a significant amount of landbridge traffic originates or is destined for Northern Ireland - for that it may be more attractive to use landbridge from Belfast, Larne, Warrenpoint and the North Sea.


A senior Stena crew member hinted to me that there is the ?potential? for Stena to move one of the Dublin Holyhead ships to Rosslare for a direct continental service IF in the event of a no deal brexit departure, demand reduces on the central corridor? Supposing Stena receive 25% of the annual 170000 annual land bridge units transiting through Holyhead, it would mean circa 800 units a week looking to avoid the grid locked UK landbridge. That could potentially support a 2000m+ lane metre ship on a three times a week service? Lot of what if?s and the biggest is obtaining support from the hauliers as it is a more time consuming crossing than is currently available. Un accompanied units are the more likely customers for this potential market, so a large RO Pax ship would not be cost efficient for any potential new route. Also which ever continental port is assessed it would need at least a 100+ trailer park to accommodate this potential traffic.
There are 150,000 annual movements and that is for both directions (official figures).  Thats of around 450,000 total RoRo movements though Holyhead (the landbridge figure naturally doesn't account for trailers which stop and discharge or load partially in GB en-route of course).  Thats not as much as it sounds if we account for the fact that there is existing excess capacity on Ireland-France (some say its running at around 50%), and that not everything will be suitable to transit on the direct routes.  Rates are going to be a big factor as well - they'll inevitably be much higher on the direct routes than short sea. Of course, Calais and Portsmouth aren't the only ports used for landbridge via Holyhead either.  Dropping a ship on Dublin - Holyhead would massively reduce their capacity there, by at least 6,200 lane metres in each direction per day. 
Another point of note, for a lot of traffic which uses landbridge France isn't the ultimate destination.  Perhaps there will be increased demand for landbridge to the "Low Countries" rather than France, particularly if a scheme is agreed where trailers can pass through the UK more or less unobstructed if sealed and the appropriate paperwork is already forwarded as has been suggested.

Personally IF the worst case scenario happens I can see a combination of an increased use of North Sea (already happening), switch to unaccompanied direct services to Europe, and LoLo services.  CLdN are banking on the middle option and ICG will certainly like the last one!

8
It would probably make more sense to switch Rosslare - Rosscoff to Rosslare to Cork.  Of course that would put them in direct competition with Stena.  Alternatively they might be happy just to take the trade coming off the two existing services - there’s only going to be so much traffic heading that far south that isn’t on the direct service to Spain.  They’ve been clear that the rail service is open to all trailers and not just those using Brittany Ferries crossings. 

9
Discussion Board / Re: Rosslare to Le Havre shipping route to open soon?
« on: February 19, 2020, 03:40:41 am »
I can’t see either Stena or Irish Ferries leaving Cherbourg any time soon.  The livestock trade is quite important and Cherbourg has lairage space (unlike Le Havre to my knowledge).  Cherbourg is also soon getting a direct rail service to southern France - run by Brittany Ferries but it will take all trailer traffic - 42 trailers in both directions every day.  It’s also a shorter sea journey which means less fuel cost.

The Cap Finistere rumour seems to have stemmed in part from the rumour of Stena Superfast X becoming a France ship permanently (well she did in a way, but in this case it’s Marseille and Corsica) which was never going to happen.   With CF sharing a hull form suddenly she was going to sail to Rosslare in some people’s minds as she has successfully berthed in Le Havre of course and X at Rosslare.  There WAS a rumour that BF were going to do Rosslare - Le Havre rather than Roscoff at one stage with Kerry though.  Le Havre could still happen, but CF is hardly the ideal ship for a year-round service on that route.  There’s also the fuel penalty of sailing all the way to Le Havre rather than to Cherbourg or Roscoff. 

Additionally, Ireland doesn’t actually do that much trade with France in the grand scheme of things.  Belgium and Holland is a bigger market but there is a direct service (and potentially more to come) to there and the land bridge is quicker - even if accounting for a significant customs delay.  Ships only sail at around 20kts and have to go the long way round after all!  Is there the demand for another Ireland to France route given Irish Ferries for one seem to drop France first when they are a ship short?

If goods to and from Ireland continue to be treated the same way in France (why wouldn’t they?) there’s not really any reason there should be any issues at Cherbourg - the GB traffic will likely be segregated and held elsewhere to be checked and sealed.  Depending on what is agreed (and something will have to be, even if it’s a case of it being imposed by the WTO) it may be a case of everything being done in the U.K. anyway with French officials present if required (in the same way U.K. border force currently carry out checks in France).  The bigger worry for many will be checks between Ireland and Great Britain - there’s a heck of a lot of meat and produce shipped over to GB daily so checks could be a big blow to the rural economy.  The French have their own produce of course and enough to go around that BF was established to ship it to the U.K.!

As for the British Government contingency measures, those have been scaled back significantly.  The lorry park on the airfield appears to have been shelved, as has the concrete barriers on the motorway.  £50m is being invested in a retractable barrier, however.  The council at Ramsgate has withdrawn the funding for maintaining the ferry terminal afaik as well.  Current planning appears to be to provide additional capacity on existing services for essential items such as medicines should the worst case scenario occur.  To be fair there was only so much a few sailings out of Ramsgate could do - the problem will be customs check capacity rather than ship capacity!

10
The News Board / Re: Irish Ferries Fleet movements
« on: February 19, 2020, 03:03:41 am »
The new Dublin Swift timings are interesting.  Different departure times on alternate days.  IF said this was in response to passenger feedback when I asked, but it’s surely no coincidence that the days she sails later are when W.B is in port!

11
The News Board / Re: Stena Edda
« on: February 19, 2020, 03:02:23 am »
In response to the original question, March.  She has appeared on the booking engine BUT I’ve spoken to Stena directly and her maiden voyage is only pencilled in at present.  She’s due at Algeciras then she will head for the U.K.

12
The News Board / Re: Irish Ferries Fleet movements
« on: February 19, 2020, 03:00:31 am »
Her funnel looks to have escaped any major surgery

It has but that doesn’t mean the decks below haven’t - all that piping has to go somewhere!  She’s also late back which surely puts Inishmore’s installation in doubt given Easter is approaching, unless they drop more France sailings!

13
The News Board / Re: Irish Ferries HUll 777
« on: February 19, 2020, 02:58:13 am »
Will they do a name competition for Hull 777 like they did with the WB Yeats

They’d need to make sure the ship is being built first surely?  At present that looks dodgy at best - FSG’s financial situation doesn’t appear to have improved much.  They still need a state loan guarantee to build any more ships - a loan guarantee that so far hasn’t been forthcoming as they haven’t been able to convince the state that  the yard is economically viable.  There’s another report due towards the end of the month with a lot hinging on it.  If 777 is delivered this year it would be nothing short of a miracle given how long it is taking to fit out HONFLEUR!

14
The News Board / Re: Is a New Cork to Spain route about to proceed?
« on: February 19, 2020, 02:54:46 am »
Still no ship, actual ferry operator, or port agreements for anywhere but Vigo AFAIK.  This is a case of a port management company wanting someone to start a route to boost traffic through their port so far as I can tell.  Representatives from Cork have met them and of course they’d be interested in supporting such a route IF it gets off the ground (Especially after losing the majority of the Bf sailings), but a meeting between two ports is nothing unusual.  I notice Cork Beo regurgitated their older article as well (still referencing Grimaldi who have ruled themselves out), which itself was based on rather optimistic reporting from Spain. 

Interestingly Rosslare are also apparently in talks with an operator about another European route.

15
The News Board / Re: Stena Estrid for Dublin
« on: January 02, 2020, 11:26:24 pm »
Dublin Port booking shows Estrid returning to Dublin on January 8th

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