Finnlines boosts Rosslare – Zeebrugge capacity with second ship

By: Steven Tarbox
FINNPULP at Rosslare on 24 July 2022. Image: Rosslare Europort.
FINNPULP at Rosslare on 24 July 2022. Image: Rosslare Europort.

Grimaldi-owned Finnlines plans to build on the successful introduction of its Zeebrugge – Rosslare route last year with the introduction of a second vessel

The existing vessel, FINNWAVE, will be joined by FINNPULP in the coming week.  While smaller than her running mate, FINNPULP still offers 3,259 lane metres of freight capacity, making her one of the largest ships to serve Rosslare.  This will mean that six sailings per week (three round trips) will be offered on the freight-only route.

This is the third tonnage change on the Zeebrugge –  Rosslare route since it began in July 2022.  The route was launched by the FINNPULP on 23 July 2022 before being replaced by the larger FINNSUN in mid-September. During November 2022 FINNSUN was replaced by sister-ship FINNWAVE.   The introduction of FINNWAVE coincided with a number of other improvements for the service such as a move to a dedicated berth and marshalling area at Zeebrugge (Berth 106) and a timetable adjustment to better cater for actual traffic patterns.

Antonio Raimo, Line Manager at Finnlines says:

“We are adding an additional departure from both ports on our Ireland – Belgium service. We have seen increased demand and are pleased to be able to offer additional capacity. By adding a second vessel and expanding our service, we strengthen our product to better serve our Irish and European markets. We provide an excellent transport link for Irish trade to the Continent by offering tailor-made capacity for our customers whose business depends on reliable sea transportation services,”

Slight decline in overall Ireland – EU direct traffic

Finnlines’ success comes despite the overall amount of freight traffic on Ireland – EU routes declining slightly according to the latest available IMDO statistics.  This suggests that Finnlines success is at the expense of other carriers.  No doubt this will in part be due to Finnlines ability to tranship loads from  Germany, Spain, Finland, and Estonia through its Zeebrugge hub, both from and to Rosslare. Finnlines services also link in to the wider Grimaldi network.

DFDS, whose Dunkerque – Rosslare route targets a similar geographical area, has offered up to eight sailings per week in both directions in the past, but presently offers 5 departures in each direction.  Unlike Finnlines, however, DFDS accepts passengers on its Ireland – EU mainland route following a trial last year.

The market leader for Ireland to Europe ro-ro freight CLdN, which serves Zeebrugge and Rotterdam from Dublin, has also continued to adjust its tonnage based on demand. Stena Line on the other hand will increase theoretical freight capacity on the Rosslare – Cherbourg route for summer 2023 as well as significantly enhancing its passenger offer with the arrival of STENA VISION in place of the ro-ro SEATRUCK PANORAMA.

Finnlines new Rosslare timetable

The new Finnlines Ireland – Belgium timetable (effective 23 February) is as follows:

  • Rosslare Mon 03:00 – Zeebrugge Tue 11:00
  • Rosslare Thu 22:00 – Zeebrugge Sat 06:00
  • Rosslare Sat 14:00 – Zeebrugge Sun 22:00
  • Zeebrugge Tue 22:00 – Rosslare Thu 04:30
  • Zeebrugge Thu 22:00 – Rosslare Sat 04:00
  • Zeebrugge Sat 16:00 – Rosslare Sun 19:00

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