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From Landbridge to Seabridge

After months of negotiations, the UK and European Union finally agreed a deal that will define their future relationship.

In the meanwhile, ferry companies have strengthened or even created direct ferry links with the Republic of Ireland, the EU country on the ‘other side of the UK’.

These ferry routes avoid the ‘landbridge’ (*) over a non-EU country.

On 22 December 2020, Stena Line added roro ferry STENA FORETELLER on the Cherbourg-Rosslare route. She joined ropax STENA HORIZON, doubling the freight capacity as well as the frequency of sailings (12 weekly sailings)

On 2 January 2021, DFDS started a new 3-ship direct route from Dunkerque to Rosslare, with chartered VISBY and KERRY, and OPTIMA SEAWAYS.

CLdN increased its frequency / capacity from the continent to Dublin and Cork.

On 6 January 2021, W.B. YEATS, Irish Ferries’ largest ropax, start to sail on the Dublin-Cherbourg route.

W.B. YEATS has a much higher freight capacity than route vessel EPSILON, and enough cabins for truck drivers.

EPSILON will replace W.B. YEATS on Dublin-Holyhead.

Eucon (Irish Continental Group) introduced an extra 800 TEU container feeder vessel (MUSIC) on Dublin-Rotterdam.

Smooth Operators

“The majority of freight has successfully accessed our ports on the first day post-Brexit. The day has not been without issues for some hauliers, which was expected. The occasional vehicle has being turned away due to not having the correct customs references, but most have returned later with everything in order and been shipped.”

Ian Davies, Head of UK Port Authorities, Stena Line

“At the ports of Rotterdam and IJmuiden, the first day on which customs formalities again applied to freight transport between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union passed quietly. There has been no congestion around ferry terminals. It has also stayed very quiet at the special Brexit buffer parking zones for HGV drivers whose documents are not yet in order.”

Port of Rotterdam

“No problems in Zeebrugge. The start of the year is calm anyway and we have had a very busy month of November and December. Stocks have been built up in the UK, and they are decreasing systematically. Over the next few weeks, I expect traffic will grow to a normal level, end of January, mid-February.”

Port of Zeebrugge CEO Tom Hautekiet

Tallink Grupp’s Latest Statistics Reveal Impact of Pandemic

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Tallink’s Q4 and December statistics reveal the total impact of COVID-19 on the company’s annual passenger, vehicle and cargo figures.

  • -61.8% passengers in 2020
  • -82.5% Latvia-Sweden
  • -81.9% Estonia-Sweden
  • -66.1% Finland-Sweden
  • -52.3% Estonia-Finland
  • -36.7% passenger vehicles in 2020

Despite the many challenges during the year, the company transported a total of 359,811 units of cargo during 2020, which is only 5.2% less than during the full year 2019.

Paavo Nõgene, CEO of Tallink Grupp, said commenting on the results, “…. the company has weathered this storm as well as possible… and we are ready to carry on our battle through the storms and are determined to begin the road to recovery in 2021”

The Magic is Gone

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Norway has introduced new infection control measures for at least two weeks.

Color Line has therefore decided to withdraw cruise ferry COLOR MAGIC between Oslo and Kiel until further notice.

COLOR FANTASY has previously been taken out of service on this route.

Freight continues to be handled by roro COLOR CARRIER between Oslo and Kiel, and ropaxes SUPERSPEED 1 and 2 between Kristiansand, Larvik and Hirtshals.

Lacking an important part of its income, Color Line finds itself forced to announce redundancies of another nearly 500 employees in addition to the around 1,000 who have already been laid off, said CEO Trond Kleivdal.

Photo: Jørgen Syversen

Seven years Later, She’s Back

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COTENTIN is back on Poole-Cherbourg, after a 7-year charter to Stena Line as STENA BALTICA.

In April, BARFLEUR will take over on the Poole to Cherbourg route.

COTENTIN will then switch to cover the Portsmouth-Le Havre route, replacing Brittany Ferries’ ETRETAT, which will return to Stena RoRo as her charter ends.

New CEO for Fjord Line

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The Board of Directors has appointed Brian Thorsted Hansen (53) as the new CEO of Fjord Line.

Thorsted Hansen has extensive business experience and has for the past 14 years worked at DFDS, formerly serving as Vice President and Head of Business Unit Group Passenger.

From Ice Cold to Red Hot

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Once Kvarken Link’s newbuilding AURORA BOTNIA enters service in May 2021, the well-traveled WASA EXPRESS (1981) will move from the icy waters of the Gulf of Botnia to the Red (hot) Sea.

New owner will be UME Shipping LLC.

“With our latest acquisition, we will be the first operator with a battery hybrid ferry in the Red Sea”, says Mr Mohamed Badawy, Chairman and owner of UME Shipping.

Deadline for Moby’s Rescue Plan Postponed Again to the End of March

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The Court of Milan gave its green light to the request received from Moby and Compagnia Italiana di Navigazione (Tirrenia) to postpone until the end of March the expiring date for submitting a debt restructuring plan to be submitted to bondholders and banks.

The first expiring date was 28 October 2020 and was already prolonged for two months but now the Onorato-controlled group obtained from the court a further three months thanks to a recently approved law related with the Covid-19 measures to support companies based in Italy.

Some sources revealed to Ferry Shipping News that one of the two alternative options informally submitted to the creditors by Moby’s top management would foresee the set-up of a newly built vehicle company in which some ferries bound for sale would be transferred.