The Cork to Spain ferry route is to be expanded to a year-round service to give hauliers for export and import options due to fears over Brexit.
Building on the launch of its new Cork to Santander route in 2018, Brittany Ferries has introduced a new winter sailing schedule designed to facilitate its Ireland to Spain freight traffic.
The Connemara vessel will now depart Cork on Mondays and Fridays at 11.30pm, arriving in Santander at 8am on Wednesday and Sunday mornings respectively.
This is the first time that Brittany Ferries will offer a year-round service out of Ireland. Its Cork to Roscoff route serviced by the Pont-Aven, which has been operating for 40 years, will resume sailings in March 2019. The Connemara will also resume its weekly return sailing from Cork to Roscoff at this time.
Freight figures since the introduction of the new Cork to Santander route have been encouraging with nearly 2,600 freight units carried to date with demand rising significantly in the last month.
The change in schedule has been made in order to make the route more amenable to transporters in Ireland.
Simon Wagstaff, Brittany Ferries freight director said: “We consulted with hauliers who unanimously fed back that they would like to see later evening departures to allow time to travel to the port."
"This, in turn, allows for an earlier start in Santander for the onward journey. As Brexit uncertainty continues, our new service provides a guaranteed connection for exporting freight from Ireland directly to mainland Europe, allowing freight carriers and passengers to bypass the UK and French land-bridge to Spain."
“We’ve had an encouraging start to the change in schedule, but time will tell.”
Conor Mowlds, Port of Cork Chief Commercial Officer added: “Freight figures to date using this RoPax service are very encouraging and the new schedule will help boost further freight during the winter season. With Brexit negotiations developing weekly, the option for freight carriers to bypass the UK land bridge will be even more attractive and we are committed to working closely with Brittany Ferries to ensure this route continues to be a success.”
The winter schedule runs until Friday, 1st March 2019, with the exception of Christmas and New Year weeks.