Grimaldi Line has launched a twice weekly Cork/Antwerp freight ferry operation. The 3810-lane metre freight ferry Eurocargo Bari will sail twice weekly from Ringaskiddy Ferry Terminal carrying unaccompanied trailers, writes Howard Knott.
The Naples based and long-established Grimaldi Line has been operating Con/Ro services through Ringaskiddy to Mediterranean, African and Scandinavian destinations for almost 25 years, but the Antwerp service is the first Irish pure Ro-Ro service. Antwerp is a major hub for Grimaldi Group services with regular calls from subsidiaries, Finnlines, operators of services into the Baltic and to Spain, and Atlantic Container Lines (ACL) operating to the North American East Coast. The total Grimaldi vessel fleet runs to over 130 vessels including a significant Cruise Ferry fleet operating throughout the Mediterranean Sea.
The new service brings the number of ferry services operating out of the Ringaskiddy Ferry terminal to six sailings a week. Brittany Ferries have increased the frequency of their long-established Cork/Roscoff service to twice weekly, while CLdN are also now operating its Cork/Antwerp service twice weekly.
While the major focus in ferry route development over the last six months or so has been on ‘Brexit busting’ direct routes linking Irish Ports with the Continent, the shipping lines do not appear to have lost faith in the strength of traffic from Britain to Dover Straits Ports. The recent announcement by Irish Ferries of its planned June entry into the Dover/Calais route sailing initially with the Isle of Inishmore, appears to have sparked a response from P&O Ferries which has announced the restoration of a fifth vessel on that route also from early June. Meanwhile, DFDS, will introduce a brand-new Cote D’Opale onto the same route in June. DFDS has also announced the planned opening of a new Sheerness/Calais route opening in June and operating initially on a once daily basis.
Grimaldi Lines is represented in Ireland by Ocean & General Marine Agencies.