New ferry service from Cork could provide an avenue for live exports

It is possible that a new ferry service from Cork to northern Spain could provide an avenue for live exports.

Today, the Port of Cork Company welcomed the announcement of the new route – which is due to commence at the end of April 2018.

The service, which will make two return sailings a week from Cork to Santander, will be operated by Brittany Ferries; it will also include a weekly return sailing from Cork to Roscoff in France.

It has been confirmed that a new RoPax ship called ‘Connemara’ will be chartered to serve the route, which will add much-needed capacity to Brittany Ferries’ existing line to France from Cork.

The ship is currently operating on routes between Italy and Greece and will carry around 500 passengers, with space for 195 cars. The Port of Cork Company and Brittany Ferries would expect a 50-50 split between passengers and freight carried.

A spokesperson for the Port of Cork explained that the company is waiting to hear from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on whether or not live export trucks could be carried on the ferry.

It is understood that “exploration discussions” with the department have taken place on the issue and that a decision may be forthcoming in the coming days.

The proposed first sailing is believed to be Sunday April 29, from Santander.

Port of Cork’s commercial manager, Captain Michael McCarthy, said: “The Port of Cork wholeheartedly welcomes a service we have been trying as a port to establish for some time now.

“We are delighted that our long-term customer, Brittany Ferries, has committed to this new service – which will see an increase in tourism and freight.

“The option for freight carriers to bypass the UK land bridge will be seen as very attractive, as Brexit uncertainty continues. We have no doubt that both exporters and importers will make this a viable service.”