Ferry and logistics company DFDS has confirmed that it will open a new direct ferry route from the EU to Ireland in January. The service will commence between Dunkerque (France) and Rosslare on January 2. There will be six weekly departures from each port, doubling the current number of departures between Ireland and France at present.
DFDS has stated it plans to use three Ro-Pax ferries for the service, which is expected to have a crossing time of 24 hours. Up to 125 drivers will be carried on the new freight service, with each accommodated in a single cabin.
The route will initially not target passengers, although the company says that a passenger offering may be marketed at a later stage. A spokesman has told Shippax that irrespective of the outcome of trade negotiations between the UK and the EU, the new route is “here to stay”.
DGDS has not yet named the specific vessels, but has a number of suitable ships in its fleet. The company also recently chartered KERRY for an unspecified amount of time. The former Brittany Ferries ship is currently providing additional capacity between Kiel and Klaipeda. The company has also not ruled out chartering in additional tonnage.
Peder Gellert, DFDS’s EVP and Head of the Ferry Division, said:
“We are extremely pleased to offer customers in the Republic of Ireland and on the Continent the opportunity to transport their goods directly to or from other EU countries without the customs formalities, additional costs and possible waiting times that the end of the Brexit transition period will bring about for road haulage passing through the UK,”
DFDS will open new offices in Rosslare and Cork to represent the new Ireland – France service. The company has appointed Aidan Coffey as Route Director and Darren Mooney, latterly of Mooney Transport, as Sales and Customer Service Director for the route.
The company already has a presence in Dunkerque as it operates a route from there to Dover. The new Irish route is jointly owned by DFDS and Irish interests
The DFDS announcement follows CMA-CGM subsidiary Containerships adding a stop at Dunkerque to its existing Dublin-Cork-Zeebrugge container service from November 19th. CLdN has also announced that it is to double frequency on its weekly Cork – Zeebrugge service soon due to increased demand.
A recent government-commissioned report stated that additional direct-capacity was not required between Ireland and continental Europe. The authors were confident, however, that the shipping industry was in a good place to respond to any increase in demand.