IEA Export Series News – November 2023

IEA Export Series News – November 2023

Written by Howard Knott

Ferry service updates.

While freight volumes being shipped throughout Europe and elsewhere have dipped over the last year, passenger traffic on ferry services has, in general, staged a strong recovery. On the Ireland/ GB routes freight volumes are down but volumes on the continental direct routes have remained strong. The Port of Antwerp/Bruges, which incorporates Zeebrugge, has just reported its first three quarters of 2023 figures, and these show an increase in Ro-Ro freight volumes on the Irish market sector growing by 18.5% compared to 2022, volumes on the GB sector continued to decline and dropped by 3.8% in the same period.

The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) has reported that the volume of Irish freight vehicles moving to and from Continental Europe using the British Landbridge has stabilized. In their view this proportion is unlikely to change significantly as the traffic is mainly high-value goods moving between larger companies, for whom speed, and security is the highest priority. How, if at all, the full implementation by the British Government of the full suite of post-Brexit controls, will affect through transit times remains unclear.

Among the recent and planned ferry services changes are: –
• P&O will withdraw their final vessel from the Dublin/Liverpool route during the month of December. This will reduce their operations on the island of Ireland to a single route operating between Larne and Cairnryan
• Irish Ferries has taken a short-term charter on the P&O vessel Norbay as a replacement for the Epsilon which being returned to her owners. Both vessels are of a similar size.
• Brittany Ferries have switched the Spanish destination for their service ex Rosslare, to Santander over the winter months. They have also replaced their weekly Rosslare/ Le Havre service with a second weekly call to Cherbourg.
• Brittany Ferries have extended their seasonal Ringaskiddy/Roscoff ferry service to a year-round operation with a once weekly winter rotation and twice weekly during the summer.
• Seatruck have added further midweek capacity to their Dublin/Liverpool route using a vessel from the CLdN Fleet.


Container Storage facilities.

The Dublin Inland Container Port operated by the Irish Continental Group is currently operating close to capacity. A second adjoining facility is expected to open in early December. This will be operated by CMA-CGM jointly with Doyle Shipping.
The Stateline container storage operation close to the M50 may have to close due to difficulties with planning Permission. Legal cases are currently taking place on this matter.

Further progress on digitalisation of shipping.

From 1 January 2024, it will be mandatory for ports around the world to operate Maritime Single Windows for the exchange of information required at the point of a ship’s arrival, during its stay and at departure. The change is in line with international shipping’s aspirations to accelerate digitalisation and decarbonisation of the sector.

A further recent development has been the trialling of 5G communications linking ports and vessels operating in the Baltic Sea area. A key element of the system being trialled is the use of vessels in transit through the area as staging posts for messages.


CO2 toll in Germany to increase road freight operator costs by up to 83% from December 2023.
Research carried out on behalf of the Road Haulage Industry indicates that when the planned CO2 truck toll on German highways comes into force on December 1st this year, freight forwarding, and logistics companies will have to pay surcharges of about €200 per tonne of CO2.
The toll increase will not apply to Zero emission vehicles, including electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles until the end of 2025. The rate for these low emission vehicles will be 25% of the rate for diesel powered trucks.

Currently tolls account for about 12% of Hauliers costs in Germany and the CO2 toll will bring this figure up to about 20%. Some Logistics Operators including Maersk and DB Schenker have advised customers that the rise in toll fees will increase their costs and that a new tariff will be issued to cover the extra costs.

The extra revenue generated will be used to fund the provision further rail and barge services. It is likely that other EU countries will follow the same policy in an effort to “green” transport.