UK ferry scene due for significant expansion

2019-10-11T18:35:28+00:00 October 11th, 2019|Ships|

There are 13 new ferries due to enter service before 2023 and eight launching before 2021, according to industry body, Discover Ferries.
Announced during the travel industry’s annual ABTA Travel Convention, this represents a significant investment from the ferry sector of more than £1 bill in new ships and ports.

Emma Batchelor, Discover Ferries director, said;: “The continued investment in new passenger ferries and port facilities is not only great news for the millions of holiday makers who value comfort and space when they travel, it also underlines the industry’s commitment to providing a high quality, efficient service regardless of what happens post-Brexit.

“This news clearly demonstrates that ferry travel is not only here to stay, but it is continuing to thrive as passengers discover the fantastic array of ferry routes and services on offer from the UK, Ireland and British Islands. It also sends a clear message that passengers should book their ferry with confidence, regardless of a deal or no deal Brexit scenario, whether they are sailing across the Irish Sea, around London, the British Isles or into mainland Europe,” she said.

UK Chamber of Shippin CEO, Bob Sanguinetti, commented: “The UK shipping industry is vital to the UK economy, contributing £14 bill annually and supporting an estimated 86,000 jobs. It is wonderful to see the ongoing investment in new passenger ferries and ports. This money will not only ensure holiday makers continue to receive first class service, but the investment in new greener, low carbon ferries will also help us tackle climate change, a top priority for the UK Chamber of Shipping.”

The latest industry figures showed that in the past year more than 38 mill passenger journeys[ were made by ferry to the British Isles and Ireland, France, Spain and The Netherlands. The new ships include three environmentally-friendly passenger ferries, as well as three freight-only ships.

The companies involved in expansion plans include:

Brittany Ferries’ new €175 mill ferry ‘Honfleur’, is due to be delivered later this year and will enter service on the Portsmouth/Caen route in 2020. The cruise ferry, which is being built in Germany, will be powered by LNG. Passengers will be able to benefit from free Wi-Fi, which will come as standard in all cabins and public spaces, and a digital information lounge will serve as her focal point;

a second ship, ‘Galicia’, which has been built in China, is set to join Brittany Ferries’ long-haul routes connecting Portsmouth to Santander and Bilbao in northern Spain at the end of 2020. She is the first of three new sisterships that will be chartered by the French ferry operator from Stena RoRo, along with sister ships, ‘Salamanca’, which is due to join her in spring 2022, and ‘Santoña’, which will arrive a year later;

the three 42,200 gt E-Flexer-class ships will be among the largest in Brittany Ferries’ fleet, each at 215 m long with capacity for around 1,000 pax in 340 en-suite cabins. The ships’ three passenger decks will contain Spanish-style shops, restaurants, bars and cafes;

DFDS is to replace current cruise ferries, ‘King Seaways’ and ‘Princess Seaways’, which operate the overnight Newcastle/Amsterdam service, with two newer passenger ferries later this year;

the replacement ships, ‘Newcastle Seaways’ and ‘Amsterdam Seaways’, which were previously operated by Moby as ‘Moby Wonder’ and ‘Moby Aki,’ were built in 2001 and 2005, respectively and will undergo refurbishment before entering service. The new, passenger facilities will include a range of restaurants and en-suite cabin accommodation. The ships will also have more car deck space, as well as greater capacity for transporting freight vehicles.

Looking ahead to 2021, DFDS will introduce the largest ferry it has operated on the English Channel, the ‘Côte D’Opale’, at 3,100 lane metres.
The ferry, which is also being built in China for Stena Line and will be chartered to DFDS, will be able to carry 1,000 pax. It will also have an expected reduction in oil consumption of around 30%.

Irish Ferries’ most recent newbuilding, ‘WB Yeats’, has been in service since February, 2019.

The company is currently investing a further €165.2 mill to build what will be the largest cruise ferry in the world in terms of vehicle capacity. She will serve the busiest route between the UK and Ireland – Holyhead to Dublin – and will accommodate 1,800 pax and crew with capacity for 5,610 freight lane metres (330 freight units per sailing).

Design features include three-tier freight bow loading for quick turnaround times in port. Passenger facilities across three decks will include a choice of entertainment options and cinemas, a dedicated Club Class lounge with direct access from the car decks and a choice of restaurants.
P&O Ferries will launched a new daily freight ferry service linking Calais with the Port of Tilbury on 24th September.

The ferry operator has also announced that it has ordered two new passenger ferries for its Dover/Calais service, which will be built in China. The double-ended vessels will be the largest to sail on the cross-Channel route and represent an investment of €260 mill. They are expected to join P&O’s fleet in 2023, and will have capacity for 1,500 pax.

Stena Line – The first two vessels from the company’s E-Flexer fleet investment programme, are set to enter service next year. ‘Stena Estrid’ is due to start operating on the Dublin/Holyhead route in early 2020 and ‘Stena Edda’ is scheduled to sail on the Belfast/Liverpool route later in the year.

A third new ship, which will also operate on the Belfast route, is set to join the fleet in 2021.

They will be bigger than today’s standard RoPax vessels at 215 m long with a freight capacity of 3,100 lane metres and the space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 pax.

In addition, Stena Line has also ordered another two E-Flexer RoPaxes of a larger design, to be deployed within Stena Line’s network in 2022. These larger ships will be 240 m long with a total freight capacity of 3,600 lane metres, and pax capacity of 1,200.

In addition to the ferry operators, Portsmouth International Port is also embarking on a £19 mill investment plan to improve the functionality of the port for ferry customers.

Changes include the replacement of the current passenger boarding tower with a new building that incorporates an air bridge, as well as levelling work on one of the berths to accommodate ships more easily. Redevelopment plans for the terminal itself are also scheduled for next year, which will see the creation of an additional annexe to handle an increase in cruise and ferry passengers.

“There has been much discussion around the ability for people to travel to and from Europe post Brexit,” Batchelor added; “The reality is that holiday-makers and other passengers will still be able to travel in comfort and with ease by ferry, wherever they want to go, regardless of a deal or no deal scenario.

“Although there are likely to be some changes in travel document requirements when travelling to Europe, travel will still be straightforward and ferries will continue to operate great services both on domestic routes across Scotland and the British Islands, as well as over to Ireland and Continental Europe,” she stressed.