Irish Ferries has today, March 26, announced a new Dover to Calais route – its first Britain to France service, from June 2021. The Isle of Inishmore ferry will be transferred to the new route as Irish Ferries adds the Blue Star 1 to its fleet, servicing the Rosslare to Pembroke route.
The company’s first Uk-to-France service is designed to consolidate the movement of freight between UK and Europe, as well as strengthening trade between Ireland and the UK and onto Europe. Hauliers will now have one operator providing an inclusive service on the Dublin-Holyhead, Rosslare-Pembroke and Dover-Calais routes. This will allow exporters and importers easier, cheaper, and quicker access to our European markets via the Common Transit Convention.
It is intended to offer passenger services on the route. The initial level of passenger services offered will be dependent on the easing of Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Doug Bannister, Chief Executive, Port of Dover, said: “We are delighted to welcome Irish Ferries to Dover. This announcement gives the millions of customers across the UK and the Republic of Ireland who value the intrinsic benefits of the shortest sea crossing to Europe, the prospect of even more choice. We believe the inclusive landbridge product will be popular with Irish exporters and will strengthen the just in time supply chain into the European Union. This is a clear signal of market confidence in the Dover route and will complement the resilient services currently provided. We wish Irish Ferries every success and look forward to having them on the route in the summer and working together as part of the Dover team building the future success of the Short Straits.”
Jean-Marc Puissesseau, Chairman, Port of Calais, said: “The commencement of the service operated by Irish Ferries emphasises the strategic position of the port of Calais in the trade between Ireland, the United Kingdom and the continent. It is a clear sign of confidence just a few weeks before the opening of the new port of Calais”.
Meanwhile, the RoRo passenger ferry Blue Star 1 is being added to the Rosslare to Pembroke Dock route. The ship is being chartered from the Attica Group and delivery is expected in early April 2021. The Blue Star 1 has the capacity to carry up to 1,500 passengers, 100 freight vehicles and up to 700 cars depending on freight volume. The ship offers a host of quality facilities including 192 cabins for freight drivers/passengers, self-service restaurant, café/bar, Club Class lounge, onboard duty-free shop, children’s play area and spacious outdoor decks. The tripling of cabin numbers will facilitate more single occupancy cabins for freight drivers, a welcome development for our freight customers.
Andrew Sheen, Irish Ferries Managing Director, said: “We are very pleased to add a quality ship of the calibre of the versatile Blue Star 1 to the Irish Ferries fleet. This ship will be the fastest RoRo Passenger ship operating between Britain and Ireland and this will help ensure schedule integrity. The introduction of this ship underlines our commitment to the Rosslare to Pembroke route, the primary shipping corridor between Ireland and South Wales. It also underlines our commitment to the significant contribution that this route makes in facilitating trade for both exporters and importers as well as facilitating essential passenger movements and future tourists as the country re-opens post COVID-19”.