Memorandum submitted by Irish Ferries
Investment and Expansion of Ferry Services, Pembroke
Irish Ferries and its predecessor B+I have operated
ferry services from Pembroke Dock since 1979. In 1997, together
with the Milford Haven Port Authority, we made a substantial investment
on the Pembroke to Rosslare route, with the arrival of the 23,000
tonne MV "Isle of Innisfree". With a capacity on each
of the four daily sailings, of 600 cars or 95 freight vehicles
and 1650 passengers, it was the largest ferry operating from South
Wales. As part of the investment, a two tier shore ramp was installed,
only the second such facility in Wales. (The other ramp being
built in Holyhead in 1995 to service our operation at that Port).
In May 2001, the MV "Isle of Innisfree"
was replaced with an even larger vessel, The MV "Isle of
Irishmore". With her capacity for 800 cars or 122 freight
vehicles and 2,200 passengers, it represents a further significant
increase in capacity on the Pembroke to Rosslare route.
As a result of this investment, we have seen
a significant increase in both passenger and freight business.
This is shown on the enclosed throughput summary, with details
of our annual carryings, from 1996 to 2001. We have also shown
the maximum number of vehicles that could be carried in any one
year, based on the capacity of the ship currently on this service.
Road Access Pembroke Dock
Currently there is good access across the M4
Corridor, with a dual carriageway to the A40 at St Clears. From
there to the Port of Pembroke Dock, it is single lane carriageway
and around the arrival and departure times of the ship, this road
can become very congested. The Road improvements for the Sageston
and Redberth by-passes are most welcome and we sincerely hope
that this reduces risk at these accident black spots. However,
as they remain single lane carriageways, they will not reduce
congestion at the peak times.
We understand that a study of traffic volumes
was undertaken some time ago, to determine the need for a further
upgrade of the road access. We would like to ensure that this
study takes into account, the further increase in traffic volumes,
from May 2001, following the arrival of the MV "Isle of Innishmore".
We are given to understand that there are plans
to continue the dual carriageway from St Clears to the County
Seat at Haverfordwest. However if this takes ferry traffic, particularly
heavy goods vehicles (HGV's) off the A477, towards Haverfordwest,
we need to be certain that the road linking this new road to Pembroke
Dock will be capable of taking the traffic volumes and weights.
Investment and Expansion of Ferry ServicesHolyhead
We have operated services from Holyhead since
1982 and in 1995 we undertook a major development and expansion
program in the Port, together with the owners of the Port. The
MV "Isle of Innisfree", referred to earlier in this
report, launched our expansion plans for our Holyhead to Dublin
Service, leading to a significant increase in the throughput of
passenger and freight vehicles.
This program of expansion has continued, with
the arrival of our new fast craft service in 1999. The "Jonathan
Swift" has capacity for 200 cars/or 12 coaches and 80 cars.
This vessel is capable making eight sailings a day in the peak
2001 saw the arrival of the MV "Ulysses"
on the Holyhead to Dublin service. At 52,000 tonnes, with a capacity
for 1350 cars/or 240 HGV's and 1,900 passengers, she is the largest
vessel of her type in the world.
We have enclosed a summary of our carryings
in Holyhead, from 1995 to date, which reflects the level of investment
and clearly shows the dramatic increase in vehicles through the
Road Access Holyhead Port.
The great improvement of the A55 across the
island of Anglesey has dramatically reduced transit times for
all vehicles and is of significant benefit to those commercial
and tourism interests using this crucial link between Ireland
and Wales. In addition the investment in Port infrastucture means
that we now offer a modern and highly flexible service that is
as good as it gets.
However there remains one fundamental problem
to be addressed and that is the bottleneck that exists for traffic
at the exit/entrance to Holyhead Port. All vehicles have to traverse
"Black Bridge" this is not congruent with best practice.
When the development of Holyhead Port was being finalised, negotiations
took place with the owners of the land in the vicinity of "Black
Bridge". The intention was to install a fly-over to proceed
directly across this junction, however agreement could not be
reached at the time and we are left with this unacceptable congestion
point that is a problem for local interests as well as commercial
and tourism transport.
We are aware that Anglesey County Council is
looking at options to resolve this problem and we now look to
you to take the necessary measures to develop an acceptable outcome
for all concerned.
2. RAILWAYS IN
The Port of Pembroke does not have any direct
rail links, with the railway track ceasing about one mile from
the Port. Substantial investment would be required to provide
rail links to the Port.
In terms of business potential for any such
rail connection, the volume of potential passenger business would
be very low. In relation to the freight business, it would also
require considerable investment, not only in Port infrastructure,
but also in Rail links to the Port. It would also require major
investment in the rail track network, to allow the mode of "Piggyback"
rail traffic to be fully developed.
Our own research into this has shown that the
Irish Road Haulage Industry, in general terms, could be perceived
as viewing "Piggyback" as a threat, rather than a viable
business development. The lack of a developed "Piggyback"
network throughout the UK would mean in reality that transit times
would be slow with the "Piggyback" option.
The Port of Holyhead has good rail-links directly
into the Port, for passenger traffic, but is in a very similar
situation to Pembroke Dock, in terms of business potential for
rail freight traffic.
1 FUNDING FOR
With the scope of investment by Irish Ferries
and the Port Owners of both Pembroke Dock and Holyhead Port we
have excellent Port Facilities, which are capable of handling
the predicted growth in the markets over the next five years.
With the growth in freight traffic and its future
potential growth, together with the increase in legal vehicle
weights, we are likely to reach a stage where rail-freight will
become a viable option.
We are aware that Anglesey County Council has
commissioned a study into rail-freight, including the potential
costs for linking into the West Coast Mainline. We believe that
the present position does not justify any investment in this area
at this time.
However we would like to see a coordinated long
term approach to the strategic importance of working towards the
transfer of a percentage of the freight market, at the Welsh Ports,
from road to rail.
28 June 2002
IRISH FERRIES CARRYINGS 1995-2001
Maximum Carryings based on Current Capacity
(Note: Based on Freight only night sailings and cars only