Irish Ferries: record levels of activity and revenue in 2023

By | 2024 Newsletter week 11 | No Comments

Irish Continental Group (ICG) reported its financial performance for the year ended 31 December 2023.


  • Revenue decreased a little (-2.2%) to €572.0 million.
  • EBITDA increase of €5.4 million to €132.6 million principally due to a strong performance in the Ferries Division.
  • Within the Ferries Division, the recovery in passenger markets, the strong position in freight markets and the introduction of duty-free have lifted the Ferries Division to record levels of activity and revenue.
  • Cars +12.6%
  • Passengers +20.2%
  • RoRo freight units +3.9%
  • In May 2023, the Group chartered the Oscar Wilde cruise ferry (ex Tallink Star) for an initial 20 month period with further extension and purchase options. The vessel initially entered service on the Rosslare – Pembroke route, replacing the Blue Star 1. The Group also chartered the Norbay vessel on a short-term basis, replacing the Epsilon which was returned to its owners at the end of its charter.
  • Performance in the Container & Terminal Division has been more challenging.
  • 2023 was another strong year of cash generation for the Group, further strengthening its balance sheet over the period. Cash generated from operations of €136.7 million (2022: €132.0 million) was used to fund strategic capital expenditure of €21.8 million and returns to shareholders of €45.8 million via a combination of dividends and share buybacks. Net debt at year end fell by €27.4 million to €143.7 million (2022: €171.1 million).

Financial Highlights
Irish Continental Group

Financial Highlights
Irish Ferries

Results Presentation
(click on picture)

Preliminary Statement of Results
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Irish Ferries boosts revenues as passenger numbers soar

By | 2023 Newsletter week 48 | No Comments

The Ferries Division within the Irish Continental Group has demonstrated exceptional performance. Revenues surged by 4.4% in the initial 10 months of the year. Notably, in the period leading up to November 18th, there was a remarkable 12.4% increase in car shipments and a 3.3% rise in Ro-Ro freight.

However, container freight faced challenges attributed to a deceleration in deep-sea volumes. Despite this setback, the overall performance of the Ferries Division underscores its resilience and success in a dynamic market.


Volumes (Year to date, 18 November 2023) 2023 2022 Change vs 2022
Cars 588,700 524,700 +12.2%
RoRo Freight 639,900 616,100 +3.9%
Container Freight (teu) 248,500 291,100 -14.6%
Terminal Lifts 277,300 286,100 -3.1%

Voyager IP delivers always-on Xiplink solution to Irish Ferries

By | 2022 Newsletter week 32 | No Comments

Following a successful trial,  the Xiplink™ solution is now being used on two Irish Ferries vessels, W.B. YEATS and ULYSSES.

From the user perspective, the biggest benefit of the new Xiplink™ service is the substantially improved quality of experience enjoyed when accessing the internet.

From the perspective of Irish Ferries, it also offers QoS data management, thus affording the most important connections the highest priority throughout.

Brian Short, Information Security Manager at Irish Continental Group, said “Managing the bandwidth demands of multiple data and voice services has been a challenge. The traffic management and bandwidth optimisation features offered by Xiplink have been instrumental in enhancing the onboard experience for our customers, while also protecting revenue-generating services.  Our partnerships with Voyager IP and Telenor have been vital to the success of this project, and we look forward to working with them to further develop our use of Xiplink.”

Ropax EPSILON delivered to EuroAfrica by Caronte & Tourist

By | 2022 Newsletter week 22 | No Comments

Ropax EPSILON, owned by Caronte & Tourist, but operated since several years in a bareboat charter by Irish Ferries, has been handed over this week to the new owner.

The Messina-based company, with the support of Ferrando & Massone acting as broker, sold the vessel to EuroAfrica of Poland for a price exceeding EUR 50 million.

At least until the end of the current year the EPSILON will remain in bare boat charter to Irish Ferries serving the maritime link between Ireland and the UK.

This ropax unit was built by Cantieri Visentini shipyard in 2011, can transport roughly 2,900 lane metres of roro and accommodate some 500 passengers.

Irish Ferries doubles frequency on Calais-Dover A departure every 2,5 hours

By | 2021 Newsletter week 45 | No Comments

DFDS sold CALAIS SEAWAYS to Irish Continental Group PLC.

Built as PRINS FILIP in 1992, this is a ferry that has been working for most Channel operators on routes as Ostend-Dover, Ostend-Ramsgate, Le Havre-Portsmouth and Calais-Dover.

She will now serve the Dover – Calais route again, operated by Irish Ferries as ISLE OF INNISFREE.

Andrew Sheen, Irish Ferries Managing Director, said: “We are delighted be able to add a second ship to our Dover-Calais route, with the ship doubling our frequency with a departure every 2 ½ hours rather than the current 5 hours between sailings.

Passenger capacity: 1,140 – freight: 83 units


By | 2021 Newsletter week 12 | No Comments

BLUE STAR 1 Soon Ready For Irish Sea

There were rumours that ropax ferry BLUE STAR 1 would soon exchange Greek for Irish Sea  waters, on charter to Irish Ferries. It has not been confirmed yet, but we believe these pictures say enough.

Thank you Christos Chatzaras for the great drone shots.

Rosslare Europort Welcomes DFDS New Route to Dunkirk

By | 2020 Newsletter week 49 | No Comments

As from 2 January 2021, DFDS join existing shipping operators Stena Line, Irish Ferries and Brittany Ferries at Rosslare Europort, with a new six-times weekly service direct to Dunkirk (see the extra news of last week 48)

Rosslare Europort has recently secured planning permission for a major transformation of Rosslare Europort, as part of its €30m Port Masterplan.

Further substantial investment will also take place both at the port and the surrounding area.


By | 2020 Newsletter week 7 | No Comments

Irish Ferries Choose Hogia Ferry Systems

Irish Ferries have been looking to replace their current passenger and freight reservation systems and have signed an agreement with Hogia Ferry Systems to deliver their standard booking system BOOKIT.

The new system has a fully comprehensive API, which will allow Irish Ferries to integrate any hardware or third-party software.

Irish Ferries currently have two separate systems for their passenger and freight operations, which will now be replaced with one complete solution.

Irish Ferries Has A Robust Future After A Challenging Operational Year

By | 2019 Newsletter week 11 | No Comments

2018 was a challenging year operationally but one in which significant progress was made in the strategic development of the Group.

Schedule disruptions due to technical issues on ULUSSES and the late delivery of the W.B. YEATS lower the profit performance in 2018.

  • -1.5% Revenue €330.2m (€335.1m)
  • -15.6% EBITDA €68.4m (€81.0m)