Irish Continental Group (ICG) is to purchase the ropax ‘Ciudad de Mahon’ from Trasmed.
Title to the vessel will transfer to ICG upon her delivery, which is expected by late January, 2022.
She will serve the Dover/Calais route operated by Irish Ferries after drydocking and branding changes.
Built in 2000 by Astilleros Espanoles, Spain, the ropax is of 22,152 gt with a passenger capacity of 589 and a freight unit carrying capacity of 91 units.
Irish Ferries started services on the Channel route on 29th June, 2021 with the ‘Isle of Inishmore’. A second vessel, ‘Isle of Innisfree’ (ex ‘Calais Seaways’), was delivered to the Group on 3rd November, 2021.
She is currently undergoing drydocking in Dunkirk and is expected to commence servicing the route next month, while the ‘Ciudad de Mahon’ is expected to operating on the Channel in the first quarter of 2022.
The introduction of these two vessels represented a total investment of €35.5 mill and alongside the ‘Isle of Inishmore’ completes ICG’s previously announced plan to introduce three vessels on the Dover/Calais route.
This will allow Irish Ferries to offer up to 30 sailings per day on the route with sailings in each direction about every 90 minutes.
ICG also revealed that Group revenue during the first 10 months of this year was €279.7 mill, an increase of €50.2 mill or 21.9%, compared with 2020.
This was partially offset by an increase in costs, primarily fuel, which increased by €17 mill (60%) versus 2020, due to increased sailings and higher global prices.
The Ferries Division saw improved trading conditions in its passenger business following the easing of travel restrictions across the EU in mid-July this year with the introduction of the EU Digital Covid Certificate, while Brexit negatively impacted freight volumes but positively impacted freight revenue, as more freight customers take the longer direct route to France.
Total revenues recorded in the period to 31st October were €144.5 mill, up 24%.
On a like for like basis – excluding Dover/Calais – over the same period, compared with 2020, ro-ro volumes were down 20% but revenue was flat, as more customers used the Dublin/Cherbourg route where rates were higher given the longer journey time.
Overall car volumes increased by 16%.
Covid related restrictions impact has had a significant impact on passenger traffic with car volumes year-to-date on a like for like basis (excluding Dover/Calais) down 61%, compared with 2019 but, with the easing of restrictions car volumes in the period 22nd August to 20th November, 21 were only down 22%, compared with the same period in 2019.
The Container and Terminal Division continued to perform strongly. In the year to 20th November, container shipments were up 10.5% with container lifts at the Dublin and Belfast terminals up 17%.
Total revenue in this division to 31st October was €146.5 mill, an increase of 20.8% on the previous year. However, this was partially offset by increased fuel and supply chain costs.
Dublin Ferryport Terminals expects to commence operations at the new inland port container facility in December.
ICG said that it was closely monitoring current industry developments at the European Union and IMO and will adjust its strategy accordingly to achieve, at a minimum, all required targets.
The Group claimed to be in a strong financial position with cash and undrawn committed credit facilities as of 31st October of €142.4 mill and net debt of €114.4 mill.