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Irish exporters looking to reduce reliance on the post-Brexit UK landbridge for shipments to continental Europe were given a fillip this week by plans for more direct ro-ro services.
Belgian ro-ro operator CLdN is set to double the frequency of its Cork-Zeebrugge con-ro service to offer Irish exporters two sailings a week.
“We will deploy larger vessels or add more frequency to match demand to and from Ireland and will react immediately to market signals, as we see the Irish market as a core route, a CLdN spokesperson said.
Conor Mowlds, Port of Cork chief commercial 0fficer, added: ‘This is very exciting news for Cork, and indeed importers and exporters using the current service.
“Added frequency offers flexibility, and with more and more cargo looking to avoid the UK landbridge, this is another step forward in ensuring supply chains are maintained,” he added.
Meanwhile, Danish ferry operator DFDS has announced that it will launch a six-days-a-week service between Rosslare and Dunkirk, deploying three vessels with a capacity of up 125 accompanied trucks.
The transit time between the two ports is 24 hours and DFDS said departures from each port would either be in the afternoon or evening.
“We are extremely pleased to offer customers in the Republic of Ireland the opportunity to transport their goods directly to or from other EU countries without the customs formalities and possible waiting times the end of the Brexit transition period will bring for road haulage passing through the UK,” said Peder Gellert, executive VP and head of DFDS’s ferry division.
The move will also create new jobs and activities in Rosslare and Cork, where DFDS will be represented by new offices, as well as in Dunkirk. In Ireland, the route will be led by Aidan Coffey as route director, Darren Mooney as sales & customer service director and Declan Cleary as freight sales manager Ireland.
“We are extremely grateful for the support we have experienced from the ports of Rosslare and Dunkirk,” said Kell Robdrup, senior VP and head of DFDS’ North Sea freight services. “Their flexibility, professionalism and cooperation has enabled us to be ready with this service before the end of the transition period.
“We are confident this service will benefit customers on both sides of the route,” he added.