Department monitoring potential threat to calf exports in 2018

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is actively monitoring a potential threat to calf exports in 2018.

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, confirmed that his department is aware that the ferry which regularly serves the Rosslare-Cherbourg route will be out of action for a number of weeks next year.

In response to a recent parliamentary question from Fianna Fail’s agriculture spokesperson, Charlie McConalogue, Minister Creed explained that the Stena Line ferry will not be operating its usual journeys for a period of four weeks during February and March of next year.

The vessel is scheduled to be in dry dock during that period for refurbishment, he added.

This would – unless taken up by other providers – reduce ferry capacity for the transport of a range of products, including animals, from Ireland by sea for the period in question.

Minister Creed outlined that his department is aware that discussions are on-going with the company concerned and other companies in order to examine various options to cover this period. The department continues to actively monitor the situation, he said.

February and March would represent peak months for calf exports due to the dominance of spring-calving herds in Ireland.

The Stena Line ferry serving the Rosslare-Cherbourg route is named the Stena Horizon and it operates up to three ferry crossings a week – with a journey duration of approximately 17 hours.

The vessel is capable of carrying almost 1,000 passengers and 200 cars, as well as approximately 130 freight units. The ferry – which is about 186m long – was built in 2006 and has a gross tonnage of over 27,500t.

Irish Ferries also offers a crossing service from Rosslare-Cherbourg up to three times a week.