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2014 - 2015 Central and Southern Corridor(Read 61536 times)
2014 - 2015 Central and Southern Corridor on: March 10, 2014, 12:24:52 AM
Ok as this topic has spread to other threads in the forum and could get out of control, here is what I believe will happen in 2014/ 2015 on the Irish Sea for the Central and Southern Corridors:


Central Corridor:

Stena Line - HSS Stena Explorer and Stena Nordica removed from service on their respective routes, Dun Laoghaire port finished as a Stena service at the end of HSS in September.

Dublin - Holyhead - route served by Stena Adventurer and Stena Superfast X (currently Dieppe Seaways)


Irish Ferries - Jonathan Swift and Epsilion removed from their respective routes.

Once HSS service ends, IF could take the opportunity to discontinue the Swift service using the uneconomical argument as evidenced by Stena cancelling the HSS service.

Dublin - Holyhead  - Route served by Ulysses and Isle of Inishmore

Dublin - France - to be ended with traffic transferred to Rosslare - France on the Oscar Wilde all year round.

Southern Corridor:

Stena Line -  Stena Europe removed from service, Stena Nordica to replace the Stena Europe in tandem with the the Celtic Horizon !

I think Stena could play cute and if bookings on the new service reach a level where the Nordica is Sold Out well in advance (wishful thinking given the current figures but you never know)  then transfer the Horizon over to cover a certain amount of sailings  - peak travel time from Rosslare - Fishguard is unlikely to be the same as Rosslare - France, major bank holiday weekends etc

The Nordica has already sailed on the French routes in its former life with P&O and this is not as impossible as it sounds, the Nordica will still offer plenty of freight capacity and adequate passenger numbers.

The Celtic Horizon will remain with Stena Line on charter and will probably be purchased at the end of the charter if the track record of Stena RoRo is anything to go by, this will possibly allow Stena to "pimp" the Horizon in a similar way to the Lagan and Mersey.

Irish Ferries  - Epsilon to replace the Isle of Inishmore

Quite a simple swap, slashing passenger capacity while maintaining freight capacity in Rosslare and allowing IF to compete head on with the Superfast introduction in Dublin and cover for the removal of the Swift.

Oscar Wilde to keep the French service running all year round.

The stern loading on the Horizon and Epsilon is not going to be a significant hassle given the more relaxed turn around times on the routes from Rosslare and the additional speed the two ferries can run at.

The only definite in all the above is the introduction of the former Superfast X the rest could be complete rubbish - but you never know ?




Re: 2014 - 2015 Central and Southern Corridor Reply #1 on: March 10, 2014, 03:51:38 AM
I'm also inclined to suggest the above (was also going to start this thread as well bit call it the rumour and speculation thread!!), though I'm not convinced about Oscar Wilde continuing if a suitable vessel where to become available either for France or Pembroke with Epsilon serving the other.

I doubt Swift is making much money given her zero freight capacity.  Its no secret onboard services don't make much money and that passengers these days are just space fillers for what really pays the bills - freight.  Ships geared towards passengers have had their day and the passenger orientated ferry (and fast ferry) will soon be extinct in this part of the world, except in cases where the operator has other sources of income such as from the French government/regions  like duty free (in the case of certain Norwegian services)
When/if Dieppe Seaways comes to Dublin its a no brainer to move Isle of Inishmore up to go head to head with Stena as you can guarantee Stena will market the "new" service to death, unless IF have some other tonnage in their sights.  In the shorter term at least (especially if IF where to order new) IoI is the obvious option.  Of course both Stena and IF's marketing departments will go into overdrive about the cruise experience and how's its better than rushing across on the airlines, etc.  Im pretty sure Nordica will become the designated refit cover vessel for Stena on the Irish sea given the flexibility she has to operate on almost all their services.  P&O will continue to do well to Liverpool with Freight as hauliers continue to look to reduce road miles and optimise driver hours.

Down at Rosslare a decision will be made whether to run Nordica or Horizon to France and they will be refitted accordingly.  Stena Lagan and Mersey had a lot of their refits done whilst still on charter (though the deal was close to being announced at the time), or alternatively Stena could come to an agreement to purchase early (so releasing cash for the owners in exchange for a depreciating asset) or agree to make modifications subject to returning her to her original condition if she is returned to the owners, so its quite possible IMO horizon could be refurbished quite substantially.  I too believe roro will buy her outright at the end of her charter as its too good an opportunity to miss.  I'm also with giftgrub on the stern loading not being an issue due to the turn around times allowed - I doubt their is any great desire to increase frequency (and costs) on the part of either operator either.

We will probably continue to see more talk of routes from Cork to Wales and Spain, but no operator will take the risk - at least for a passenger service unless some sort of subsidy can be secured which is deemed significant enough to take the risk.  I think the barriers of entry to a new startup are still too great for us to see any new operation outside of the current groups (for instance where will they get a suitable ship and necessary finance from).  In fact I can perhaps see LD pulling out if Stena and Irish Ferries go to war on the France routes.  Seatruck will continue to shuffle their fleet to match the whims of the charter market.

Steve in Belfast (suburbia)

NI Ferry Site

Flickr: www.flickr.com/tarbyonline



Re: 2014 - 2015 Central and Southern Corridor Reply #2 on: March 10, 2014, 08:08:43 AM
The Swift isn't going anywhere, she will be around for a good while yet.



Re: 2014 - 2015 Central and Southern Corridor Reply #3 on: March 10, 2014, 10:22:02 AM
Purely a thought:

When Stena Explorer leaves the route and J. Swift has no competition (not that she's really got much anyway, she operates a faster service and double trips already) she could adjust her times and really set herself up for the tourist/day tripper market. Possibly only operate seasonally as well to optimise her costs.



Re: 2014 - 2015 Central and Southern Corridor Reply #4 on: March 10, 2014, 11:58:36 AM
That was just what I was thinking. I don't think IF will get rid of the Swift, as she does capture a niche market on the central corridor and she has been doing so for the past 15 years. Although I do think a seasonal service is likely, especially now they have put a second car ferry on the route (either the Epsilon or Isle of Inishmore).
In an ideal world Irish Ferries would still have the Innisfree and she'd operate the Dublin-Holyhead route again, while the Epsilon would cover the Dublin-Cherbourg route (and maybe an Irish-Spain service). However, IF have been preparing for this for a while and they could've taken back the Kaitaki/Innisfree last summer, but chose not to. So obviously they didn't want her back. You could say the same for the Bilbao/Anastasia, but of course that was when they were recovering from the poor losses of 2009 and needed the money.

Does anyone know of any ro-pax ships on the market, especially Viscentini vessels? I certainly think the long term aim of IF will be to move the Inishmore back to Holyhead, along side the Ulysses, but I don't think they'll do that just yet. I think they'll give the Epsilon at least a year to see how she does on both the Dublin-Holyhead and Dublin-Cherbourg routes before they do any major fleet movements.
Since speculation is allowed on this thread, what about a combined premier-economy service between Pembroke, Rosslare, Roscoff and Cherbourg, operated by the Oscar Wilde and Epsilon.
Martin



Re: 2014 - 2015 Central and Southern Corridor Reply #5 on: March 10, 2014, 09:29:33 PM
Perhaps that's just it! when Kaitaki's charter was renewed they might not have had this all sorted out which then led to bringing in the Epsilon. Perhaps the Epsilon is only with IF until Kaitaki returns (when is that?).

It would be interesting to know how the revenue from Kaitaki's hire compares with what they are paying out for the Epsilon.



Re: 2014 - 2015 Central and Southern Corridor Reply #6 on: March 10, 2014, 10:40:44 PM
Heres another option for IF.

They might buy the Stena Jutlandica the Isle of Inismore's sister from Stena.

This ship would be ideal for either Pembroke or Holyhead , however would require some work to make her a true double deck loader.   

Its not as mad as it sounds given the fact that Stena will replace both Stena Jutlandica and Stena Danica at some point in the future.



Re: 2014 - 2015 Central and Southern Corridor Reply #7 on: March 10, 2014, 10:54:18 PM
About the HSS, Don't Stena have a contract with Dun Laoghaire until 2015? The Explorer is showing up in the booking engine to sail this Christmas too. Surely it wouldn't look good for Stena to withdraw the HSS within a year of IF introducing new tonnage...



Re: 2014 - 2015 Central and Southern Corridor Reply #8 on: March 10, 2014, 11:04:53 PM
Swift future has been in balance for about two years now, the problem is its inability to operate in seas approaching 2.5 metres. In General it gets good loads on morning rotations to and Holyhead, it is the new mailboat. The two hour sailing is very handy for tourist traffic on central corridor which the Epscilon is not really suited for. The Epscilon is attracting freight business on its own and has helped increase IF freight numbers by 16 % since its introduction.



Re: 2014 - 2015 Central and Southern Corridor Reply #9 on: March 11, 2014, 01:21:28 AM
Some thoughts/points:

Southern Corridor:
It is promising to see an apparent commitment to the Southern Corridor routes on the part of both operators. While Rosslare has several ferry routes, both Pembroke Dock and Fishguard only possess their link to Rosslare. The local economies of both communities are intricately reliant on and blended into the ferry operations - in my view this is more pronounced in Fishguard, Goodwick and surrounds. Behind every ferry route and operation are ordinary folk and I believe the Southern Corridor can rise to great things in the years ahead. While Stena Nordica and Epsilon may be best fit vessels for the close future, they may not always be so.

Central corridor:
I was surprised to read that the Jonathan Swift could be a candidate for withdrawal at a future date. In my view she is a workhorse and usually busy/very busy when I've sailed.

Dun Laoghaire: it will be very sad if this route, probably the most historic sea route from Ireland, ceases to exist. It would be great if an alternative much cheaper fuel source could be found for HSS Stena Explorer such that she could return to one or more of: (i) year round operation; (ii) faster operation; (iii) additional crossings. I accept that is probably much more unlikely than likely but not impossible by any means.

It is interesting that yesterday's press release and Facebook promotional material go back to the HSS's roots so to speak with the use of language such as "iconic", "well known for its style and speed", "the concorde of the sea". On a lighter note the vessel was known as "The Loveboat" during its build. Stena Line don't know why (or want to know). As a quick aside there was a tv series, the Love Boat, back in the 80s/90s. Episodes on You Tube.

In terms of the tourist and indeed business traffic it is crucial to remember that the rail journey time from Holyhead to London is significantly faster than the road journey time and the former will very likely reduce further when projects such as High Speed 2 come to pass.

Given their virtually exclusive tourism role and the superior access at Dún Laoghaire for foot passengers (i.e. DART rail services) and more interesting environs/locality for motorists I would like to see the Isle of Man sailings operate to Dun Laoghaire instead of Dublin. A few sailings did operate to Dún Laoghaire back in the 80s/90s.

While a focus on freight is key I feel it is important that companies do not marginalise any element of their customer base be it tourists, foot passengers or otherwise. Nobody knows what is around the corner and there's no point in "burning bridges". The low revenue yielding motorcyclist or foot passenger of today can be the freight company manager of tomorrow - passengers are very quick to pick up "hidden messages" and their experience can result in ten good impressions spread to colleagues/friends or equally ten negative recommendations.

Rosslare - Iberian Peninsula: the new LD Lines route via Saint-Nazaire is a very welcome development. It is unfortunate that the weather in January and February was so atrocious when the service is still establishing itself.



Re: 2014 - 2015 Central and Southern Corridor Reply #10 on: March 11, 2014, 07:07:06 PM
What a team that would be, Ulysses & Isle of Inishmore versus Stena Adventurer & Stena Superfast X, happy days!



Re: 2014 - 2015 Central and Southern Corridor Reply #11 on: March 12, 2014, 12:01:42 AM
Good thread this! Really interesting stuff.

Couple of things from talking to a reliable sort today:

1. From the end of March, Stena are moving the night time departure of Adventurer from Dublin Port to the earlier time of 2030, which is 25 minutes ahead of (rather than 20 minutes behind) the departure of Ulysses. 

2. HSS Explorer is confirmed as booked to work until January 5th 2015 at least.  It is not envisaged that The Superfast will be ready until early 2015.

3. Given the gaps that the loss of the HSS (theoretically!) will create, it is thought that Swift will continue on a seasonal basis at least for another couple of years.  There will be stacks of capacity with Ulysses, Epsilon, Adventurer and Superfast on the route but still an issue with timings (Dublin with 2 departures around 2am, 2 at around 8, 2 at around 3 and 2 at around 9pm) but the 8am - 3pm gap is thought to be too long and could result in a loss of the leisure trade (which is valuable in the summertime at least).  As is said above, the problem with Swift is her poor sea handling in even a moderate chop.  That definitely does not go in her long term favour!

That's it for now.  More news and idle speculation as it happens.

Pete



Re: 2014 - 2015 Central and Southern Corridor Reply #12 on: March 12, 2014, 01:15:03 AM
Great thread, great to see so much discussion about possible ferries moving routes in the next 12 months.

It's great to see that Stena are moving the departure of Adventurer to an earlier time (even if it is only 25 minutes earlier than Ulysses). I've always thought the times of the ferries to/from Dublin are to close together. I think it would be better for Adventurer to leave at 2030 and then Ulysses at 2130 or 2200? I think ferry passengers need better sailing times. Also the current 2100ish sailing times are not suitable for a foot passenger who wants to travel overnight. Ulysses and Adventurer currently arrive in Holyhead just after Midnight and then 'footies' have a 5 hour wait until the next train out of the port. (An awful wait). I think the ferry and train companies need to discuss some sort of deal to have one last train leave at 0100 (as they did until 2010).

I also think Stena need to change the 0855 departure of Nordica from Holyhead, to allow foot passengers time to arrive at the port for the early morning sailing. As a foot passenger who uses Sail Rail, the current times don't allow me time to meet the 0855 departure, as the first train to Holyhead only arrives at 08:30 and we have to check-in by 0825 (I've had confirmation of this by Stena themselves). I think they need to move the departure time to 0910, just to allow us that extra time to meet the ferry and check-in.

With regards to the Swift, I would hate to see her move to a seasonal service or even be axed all together. She is a great vessel and I've always loved travelling on her since my first time in 2005, but her poor handling of the sea does go against her. Is there any chance they could 'fix' that problem? (I wouldn't know if they could or not).

Also I believe Irish Ferries should allow foot passengers to use Epsilon. Her current sailing schedule better suits me as a foot passenger. Plus I've always wanted to travel from Ireland to France on the ferry. It would be a hassle travelling from Liverpool to Dublin then onto Rosslare to travel on board Oscar Wilde.

I hope that makes sense to people (it's my first-ever post).

Liam
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 02:06:48 AM by LiverpoolIrishLiam »



Re: 2014 - 2015 Central and Southern Corridor Reply #13 on: March 12, 2014, 03:50:29 AM
Great thread, great to see so much discussion about possible ferries moving routes in the next 12 months.

It's great to see that Stena are moving the departure of Adventurer to an earlier time (even if it is only 25 minutes earlier than Ulysses). I've always thought the times of the ferries to/from Dublin are to close together. I think it would be better for Adventurer to leave at 2030 and then Ulysses at 2130 or 2200? I think ferry passengers need better sailing times. Also the current 2100ish sailing times are not suitable for a foot passenger who wants to travel overnight. Ulysses and Adventurer currently arrive in Holyhead just after Midnight and then 'footies' have a 5 hour wait until the next train out of the port. (An awful wait). I think the ferry and train companies need to discuss some sort of deal to have one last train leave at 0100 (as they did until 2010).

I also think Stena need to change the 0855 departure of Nordica from Holyhead, to allow foot passengers time to arrive at the port for the early morning sailing. As a foot passenger who uses Sail Rail, the current times don't allow me time to meet the 0855 departure, as the first train to Holyhead only arrives at 08:30 and we have to check-in by 0825 (I've had confirmation of this by Stena themselves). I think they need to move the departure time to 0910, just to allow us that extra time to meet the ferry and check-in.

With regards to the Swift, I would hate to see her move to a seasonal service or even be axed all together. She is a great vessel and I've always loved travelling on her since my first time in 2005, but her poor handling of the sea does go against her. Is there any chance they could 'fix' that problem? (I wouldn't know if they could or not).

Also I believe Irish Ferries should allow foot passengers to use Epsilon. Her current sailing schedule better suits me as a foot passenger. Plus I've always wanted to travel from Ireland to France on the ferry. It would be a hassle travelling from Liverpool to Dublin then onto Rosslare to travel on board Oscar Wilde.

I hope that makes sense to people (it's my first-ever post).

Liam

Hello and welcome to the forum!

Im a bit baffled as to why IF won't allow footies on Epsilon.  Its just a matter of using a minibus like Stena do on their Visentinis.
Steve in Belfast (suburbia)

NI Ferry Site

Flickr: www.flickr.com/tarbyonline



Re: 2014 - 2015 Central and Southern Corridor Reply #14 on: March 12, 2014, 10:58:38 AM
Great thread, great to see so much discussion about possible ferries moving routes in the next 12 months.

It's great to see that Stena are moving the departure of Adventurer to an earlier time (even if it is only 25 minutes earlier than Ulysses). I've always thought the times of the ferries to/from Dublin are to close together. I think it would be better for Adventurer to leave at 2030 and then Ulysses at 2130 or 2200? I think ferry passengers need better sailing times. Also the current 2100ish sailing times are not suitable for a foot passenger who wants to travel overnight. Ulysses and Adventurer currently arrive in Holyhead just after Midnight and then 'footies' have a 5 hour wait until the next train out of the port. (An awful wait). I think the ferry and train companies need to discuss some sort of deal to have one last train leave at 0100 (as they did until 2010).

I also think Stena need to change the 0855 departure of Nordica from Holyhead, to allow foot passengers time to arrive at the port for the early morning sailing. As a foot passenger who uses Sail Rail, the current times don't allow me time to meet the 0855 departure, as the first train to Holyhead only arrives at 08:30 and we have to check-in by 0825 (I've had confirmation of this by Stena themselves). I think they need to move the departure time to 0910, just to allow us that extra time to meet the ferry and check-in.

With regards to the Swift, I would hate to see her move to a seasonal service or even be axed all together. She is a great vessel and I've always loved travelling on her since my first time in 2005, but her poor handling of the sea does go against her. Is there any chance they could 'fix' that problem? (I wouldn't know if they could or not).

Also I believe Irish Ferries should allow foot passengers to use Epsilon. Her current sailing schedule better suits me as a foot passenger. Plus I've always wanted to travel from Ireland to France on the ferry. It would be a hassle travelling from Liverpool to Dublin then onto Rosslare to travel on board Oscar Wilde.

I hope that makes sense to people (it's my first-ever post).

Liam

Hello and welcome to the forum!

Im a bit baffled as to why IF won't allow footies on Epsilon.  Its just a matter of using a minibus like Stena do on their Visentinis.

Welcome to the forum Liam.

The reason I think why IF don't take foots on the Epsilon or change the ferry time to meet a train, is because margins on foot passenger tickets are very small & even less on sail & rail tickets. Think of the expanse to IF or any operator to get foots on their ferry.

Buy one/two mini buses.
Pay for a driver for the mini bus in each port.
Need a baggage van or two.
Need someone to load/unload the baggage van in each port.
Have public transport in place to take foot passengers to/from the ferry port. Which would need to be subsidized public transportation by the ferry company as the route would not pay for it self with the small number of foots using it.

As well the Epsilon only has a passenger capacity of 500 (taken from IF press release 07.11.13) which is not a lot. You would have to reduce the number of car passengers & freight drivers that the company would have better margins on to take foot passengers, as well as the extra cost of taken foot passengers over vehicle passengers. It would not make business sense.

There was a train leaving Holyhead at 01.55hrs to London up to Dec 2009 I think, but there was not enough passengers using it between IF or Stena so the train company cancelled the train & now it leaves at 04.30hrs.

AFAIK the sailing times from Dublin around 9pm are for freight trucks heading down south which make the ferry companies money.
Stena adventurer new sailing time from the end of March will be 20.30hrs could end up sending business to IF. As freight would need to be checked in & loaded onto the ferry by 20.00/20.15hrs for the ferry to sail at 20.30hrs. They might get some of the early traffic that IF would have, but they would miss even more of the traffic the arrives after 20.15hrs. It would make sense now for IF to push the 20.55hrs sailing to 21.30hrs as they still will be behind the adventure getting into Holyhead, but they could pick up more late running traffic.

« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 11:02:48 AM by FerryMan »
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