Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (105)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

105. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Transport if his Department has reviewed the situation regarding travel and connectivity with Europe in view of Brexit realities given that there is demand for the direct services to Europe and limited capacity despite the quiet period due to Covid-19 and associated restrictions; and if his attention has been drawn to the fact that if capacity is not increased the situation will deteriorate and the supply chain into Ireland will struggle. [6342/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

In advance of the end of the Brexit transition, my Department in conjunction with the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO), undertook a major communications campaign urging business using the GB landbridge to consider a switch to direct routes which would avoid the new control regimes. This campaign was also supported by the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Business Enterprise and Innovation and Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

This communication campaign served to reinforce the message that there is maritime capacity available to transport goods directly to Continental Europe and that these options are many and varied across different modalities (ro-ro, con-ro, lo-lo) providing both accompanied and unaccompanied options to exporters.

We have witnessed throughout 2020 and at the beginning of 2021 an unprecedented response from the shipping industry in terms of increasing capacity to match market demand. It has occurred across all relevant modes and has drawn from all available responses. These responses include (1) utilization of surplus capacity, (2) increasing capacity by altering schedules, (3) redeploying vessels within their fleets, and (4) adding new capacity in the form of additional vessels.

Number of Sailings

As of January 2021, there are around 60 RoRo freight sailings between Ireland and the Continent in a typical week. This includes five shipping operators, Irish Ferries, Stena Line, DFDS, Brittany Ferries and CLDN offering both accompanied and unaccompanied freight. This represents an increase of around 34 sailings per week, or around 130% increase in continental RoRo frequency compared to January 2020.

Specifically in relation to sailings between Ireland and France, in January 2020, there were 12 weekly sailings to and from Northern France. These were provided by Irish Ferries and Stena Line to the port of Cherbourg (not including the seasonal service operated by Brittany Ferries to Roscoff). In the last 12 months, the number of sailings to Northern France has increased by 25. Based on published schedules, there are now over 36 sailings per week to and from the ports of Dunkerque and Cherbourg, Roscoff and St Malo provided by Stena Line, Irish Ferries, DFDS and Brittany Ferries.

Freight Capacity

The increase in choice and frequency in the RoRo freight market over the past year has had a very significant impact on freight capacity to continental EU ports. Weekly RoRo freight capacity to continental EU ports has doubled in the past 12 months. There is now capacity for approximately 5,000 additional HGV’s & unaccompanied trailers on continental RoRo services per week in January 2021.

The largest increase in capacity has come on RoRo services to Northern France. In January 2020, capacity to Northern France represented 35% of all continental EU capacity. As of January 2021, it now accounts for 49%.

Unaccompanied RoRo freight is an essential component of continental RoRo capacity. In 2020, unaccompanied RoRo freight made up over 80% of all continental RoRo volume. The importance of unaccompanied RoRo volume is not expected to change.

Details of growth in direct services

There have been 22 separate interventions by Ro/Ro+ Lo/Lo freight operators in the past 12 months in response to Brexit.

OPERATOR

ROUTE

INTERVENTION

DATE

1

CLDN

Cork – Zeebrugge

New Service

May-2020

2

CLDN

Santander – Liverpool – Dublin

New Service

June 2020

3

ICL (LOLO)

Cork to USA

New Service

June 2020

4

BG Freightline (LOLO)

Waterford -Liverpool Rotterdam

New Service

July 2020

5

CLDN

Leixoes – Dublin – Liverpool

New Service

September 2020

6

CMA-CGM (LO/LO)

Dublin / Rotterdam / Cork / Dunkirk

New Service

November 2020

7

Irish Ferries

Dublin / Cherbourg

Schedule Change

January 2021 – 7 day rotation

8

Stena Line

Rosslare / Cherbourg

Schedule Change

January 2021 – 7 day rotation

9

Stena Line

Rosslare / Cherbourg

Additional Vessel

January 2021

10

DFDS / EURoRo

Rosslare / Dunkirk

New Service

January 2020

11

CLDN

Cork / Zeebrugge

Additional Vessel

January 2021

12

Eucon

Dublin / Rotterdam

Additional Vessel

January 2021

13

Brittany Ferries

Cork-Roscoff

Additional Vessel

March 2021

14

Brittany Ferries

Rosslare to Cherbourg

New Service

January 2021

15

Stena Line

Dublin – Cherbourg

New Service

January 2021

16

Irish Ferries

Dublin - Cherbourg

Additional Vessel (Temporary)

January 2021

17

Irish Ferries

Dublin - Cherbourg

Vessel Change (WB Yeats)

January 2021

18

Samskip

Dublin - Amsterdam

New Service

January 2021

19

Stena Line

Rosslare - Cherbourg

Vessel Change (Embla)

January 2021

20

CLDN

Dublin – Rotterdam

Vessel Change

January 2021

21

Brittany Ferries

Rosslare -St Malo

New Service

February 2021

22

Brittany Ferries

Cork-Roscoff

New Service

February 2021

As shipping operators compete to understand new demand patterns, the market is currently in a state of dynamism, with a new equilibrium yet to be found. As a result, operators are changing schedules frequently and introducing new, often temporary services at short notice. If demand arises, operators have proved they stand ready to respond as necessary.

My Department, in collaboration with the IMDO, will continue to monitor demand and capacity closely to ensure the continuation of the essential supply chain for Ireland.