Rosslare Europort

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Rosslare Europort
Rosslare Harbour 2008.JPG
Rosslare Europort
Coordinates52°15′20″N 6°20′04″W / 52.25556°N 6.33444°W / 52.25556; -6.33444Coordinates: 52°15′20″N 6°20′04″W / 52.25556°N 6.33444°W / 52.25556; -6.33444
Operated byIarnród Éireann
Type of harborcoastal breakwater port
Available berths5[2]
Draft depthdepth 7.2 m.[3]
General Manager[3]Glenn Carr[3]
Official website

Rosslare Europort (Irish: Europort Ros Láir) is a modern seaport located at Rosslare Harbour in County Wexford, Ireland, near the southeasternmost point of the island of Ireland. It handles passenger and freight ferries to and from Cherbourg and Dunkirk in France, Bilbao in Spain and Fishguard and Pembroke Dock in the United Kingdom. As a result of Brexit, the port is expanding rapidly, providing new or increased direct sailings with extra capacity from Ireland to mainland Europe.[4] The direct routes between Ireland and the continent allow freight transport firms to bypass the UK land bridge, in case there is severe congestion at British ports.[5]

The port, formerly called Rosslare Harbour, is operated by Iarnród Éireann, Ireland's national railway operator. It is argued that if Rosslare is to take advantage of its new market opportunities and undergo radical expansion to handle container traffic, this will require large-scale investment.[6]


The port's strategic importance to Ireland for freight transport has increased following Brexit as it offers direct routes from Ireland to continental Europe, offering an alternative to using the UK "landbridge" (a ferry from Ireland to Great Britain, then a drive through Great Britain to an English port before sailing on to the European mainland).[4] Around 3,000 lorries take the British landbridge route from Ireland to mainland Europe each week.[7] The importance of the Rosslare direct routes was dramatically highlighted following the confusion and disruption in the southeast of England after France closed its border to freight from the UK on 20 December 2020, leaving up to 250 Irish trucks stranded in Britain trying to access mainland Europe using the landbridge to the continent.[8] Since then, demand for direct sailings to Europe from Rosslare has surged and there is increasing worry that there is insufficient capacity for roll-on, roll-off lorry freight on direct routes from Ireland to mainland Europe as at least 150,000 lorries cross every year from Ireland to mainland Europe, hitherto mostly via Britain as the cheapest and fastest route before Brexit.[9] Rosslare reduces pressure on Dublin Port by offering direct routes to Europe as an alternative to the British landbridge.[10]

Rosslare Europort has direct sailings into Cherbourg, Dunkirk and Bilbao ports.[4] As a result of new routes or increased frequency and capacity on existing routes, there are 32 direct services (freight and passenger) to and from Rosslare to continental Europe weekly, a five-fold increase on the 3 weekly sailings to mainland Europe in 2019.[11] The Dunkirk route is a key selling point as it is three hours from Paris and just 20 minutes from the Belgian border. According to Glenn Carr, Europort General Manager, the Dunkirk route is quicker than using the British landbridge taking account of the paperwork and customs checks caused by Brexit.[12] Until Brexit-related problems of red tape, computer systems interface, customs, agricultural and health checks are overcome, Rosslare Europort seems set to benefit with additional sailings, including the temporary deployment of the new Stena Line Belfast-Liverpool Stena Embla ferry to the Rosslare Cherbourg route.[13]

However some Brexit-related changes are permanent and introduce cumbersome, time consuming and costly administrative procedures. They do not appear to have easy short-term solutions. This may make Rosslare more attractive to Irish companies than using the UK Landbridge as the increased delays and cost caused by the Brexit administrative procedures may outweigh the UK Landbridge's traditional advantage in terms of speed and cost. The complete absence of Brexit-related delays and formalities at Rosslare is of crucial importance in making Rosslare a valid alternative to the UK landbridge.

Irish logistics companies using the UK Landbridge post-Brexit are facing new frictions affecting cross-border trade as they cross from the UK to the European mainland, just as if they were British, as they must now complete customs declarations and export health certificates that were not required when the UK was a member of the EU.[14] In addition, Irish companies using the UK landbridge now have to complete Entry Summary Declarations (ENS)[15][16] and PBN (Pre-Boarding Notification) declarations.[17] Use of the Landbridge route also raises potential problems such as sanitary and phytosanitary inspections, UK export licenses for certain products, rules of origin difficulties, commodity classification code issues, the need to obtain an EORI number and possible UK VAT issues.

Companies using the direct Rossalare routes to the EU are obviously not subject to these onerous, time-consuming procedures which require heavy investment in new IT and trained staff. Market forces will determine the future of the UK Landbridge.

In January 2021 there was a 446 per cent increase in freight volumes on the direct routes to the European mainland compared with the same month in 2020. At the same time, UK freight volumes moving through the port fell by half. Overall freight volumes in January 2021 were 45 per cent higher than in January 2020 as a result of “unprecedented demand” for the new direct services operating between Rosslare and mainland Europe, as transport companies navigate the twin challenges posed by Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.[18] [19]

Brexit-related difficulties also affect imports from the EU using the UK Landbridge. Dublin Port faced Brexit-related issues as regards EU goods coming into Ireland via the UK landbridge.[20][21]

Current Services[edit]

The port predominantly handles RORO (roll-on/roll-off) cargo ships and ROPAX (roll-on/roll-off) passenger and freight vessels. The harbour has four cargo berths and a fishing vessel berth.[2] Passenger ferries operate to and from Fishguard (Stena Line) and Pembroke Dock (Irish Ferries) in Wales, and to Cherbourg (Stena Line and Brittany Ferries) in France. Brittany Ferries also operate from Rosslare to Bilbao in Spain.[22][23] DFDS operates a freight only service from Rosslare to Dunkirk with six sailings a week in each direction .[24][25] In February 2021, Brittany Ferries announcecd additional (freight-only) sailings one-way only from Roscoff to Rosslare Europort and from Rosslare to St Malo.[26]

A Border Inspection Post was authorised in 2019, the only one outside Dublin Port, and is already operational. Uniquely for Ireland, the Border Inspection Post offers a one stop service for hauliers, as all necessary checks are conducted on the same site (customs, agricultural and health inspections), so inspectors come to the hauliers rather than vice versa, saving them time and money.

An advantage for Rosslare is that direct sailings allow drivers to take their rest periods during the crossing, rather than when they land in France or Spain. It appears that there is substantial demand from industry (manufacturers and producers) to use direct sailings to avoid the practical difficulties of using the landbridge such as documentation, redtape, inspections, and the need to use several IT systems.[27]

In February 2020 Brittany Ferries commenced the Rosslare-Bilbao service which runs twice weekly, this effectively replaced their Cork Santander service.[28] Brittany Ferries also offer a seasonal service to Roscoff in France.[29]

Neptune lines include Rosslare in a loop service which includes Santander, Spain, Bristol, Le Havre, Southampton and Zeebrugge, which is used to import motor vehicles.[30]

Planned Development[edit]

The Europort is set to undergo a major transformation over a three to five-year period with new investment of over €30 million invested to provide capacity, facilities and technology to facilitate major growth. There will also be initiatives under the strategic plan for the port including development of the Rosslare Europort Business Park by the Dutch company XELLZ targeting the future Offshore Wind Market and the creation of a Free Zone at Rosslare Europort and the Europort Business Park.[31] It is intended to use technology to create Ireland's smartest digital and automated Port so that the Europort will meet all customs and Brexit requirements for state agencies.[32] It is unclear if this relatively modest investment will be sufficient to take advantage of the huge increase in traffic from 2021 and a possible move to handle container traffic.

A new motorway costing €350 million is being built linking the N11 at Enniscorthy, along the old N25 road past Wexford town, with the port.[33][34]

Verona Murphy, former President of the Irish Road Haulage Association and a local TD, believes the port needs a €200m upgrade to take full advantage of the opportunities Brexit provides, as Rosslare is currently a roll-on roll-off port, taking trucks, drivers and trailers, whereas she maintains what is needed is to update to a load-on load-off container-type port, requiring crane infrastructure and significant land reclamation. The Irish government has said it will invest more in ports like Rosslare as businesses seek certainty amidst the confusion caused by Brexit.[35]


Existing facilities in the terminal building include a cafe with shop, ferry company desks, car rental, and self-service left-luggage lockers. A viewing balcony and foot passenger lounge are to be found on the first floor. Railway services to Wexford, Wicklow and Dublin Connolly are located at Rosslare Europort railway station around a seven-minute walk in the open air along a specially marked path. Bus services to Wexford, and Waterford leave from just outside. Bus and rail connections to Cork, County Kerry, and Limerick, and bus connections to County Clare and Galway are available from Waterford whereas connections to Dublin are available at Wexford.

Port Details[edit]

At Rosslare, Iarnród Éireann is an infrastructure provider and operator, providing port facilities and related services, including stevedoring, to shipping lines. Rosslare Europort is operated as a Common User Terminal, meaning that the port authority carries out all stevedoring activities on a common user basis for all shipping lines using the port.

The import and export of motor vehicles (trade cars) is one of the most important trades of the Port.[36] In excess of 25,000 vehicles are handled per annum. The importer depot is in Rosslare Harbour Village.

The Port can accommodate cruise liners. Rosslare Europort was included in the 2020 schedule of the Phoenix Reisen-owned liner MS Deutschland.[37]

An all-weather RNLI lifeboat is on station, and the Irish Coast Guard helicopter at Waterford Airport provides air-sea rescue cover.[38][39]

An automatic weather station is maintained adjacent to the port by Met Éireann.[40]

The port area is largely on reclaimed land. Reclamation work continued to the late 1990s when the northwest part of the port was constructed using a dragline. Modernisation of facilities has continued to encourage the increase in cars carried on the ferries despite a drop in foot passengers.

Rosslare has also handled rolltrailer traffic in the recent past, when Cobelfret operated a service from Rosslare to Zeebrugge/Rotterdam (October 2008 to September 2009). Rolltrailers enable the carriage of lift-on lift-off (LoLo) traffic on roll-on roll-off (RoRo) ships.

Rosslare Europort is the second most strategically important seaport in the State after Dublin. It is the second-busiest port in terms of ship visits and gross tonnage, and handles more unitised freight than any other Irish seaport except Dublin – in fact, Rosslare handles more unitised freight than all other seaports in the State, excluding Dublin, put together. Unitised freight is important because all of the high added-value exports on which Ireland's economic recovery depends are exported as unitised freight.[citation needed]

Rosslare Europort 2020 yearly figures are as follows: 810,000 passengers, 130,000 freight units and 515,710 tonnes of freight.[41]


The Rosslare Europort ferry connection using Stena Line to Fishguard Harbour and then by train operated by Transport for Wales to Carmarthen, Swansea and Cardiff links into Great Western Railway services to Bristol Parkway, Reading and London Paddington. This is popular with Rugby fans going to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff or the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Train and ferry connections across the Irish Sea are promoted as an alternative to air.

Irish Rail and ferry connections[edit]

Trains connect the port on the Rosslare Line via Wexford, Enniscorthy, Gorey, Arklow, Wicklow, Bray to Dublin Connolly. Connecting routes from Dublin Connolly include the Sligo Line and the Belfast Line.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "UNLOCODE (IE) – IRELAND". Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Rosslare – Roll On Roll Off Services – Berths". Rosslare Europort. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Port of Rosslare, Ireland". Shipping Guides Ltd. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Stena Line adding extra vessel between Ireland and France, 10 December 2020.
  5. ^ Brexit: The Irish port of Rosslare is hoping to benefit, 26 December 2020.
  6. ^ Brexit: The Irish port of Rosslare is hoping to benefit, 26 December 2020.
  7. ^ Stena Line brings forward doubling of Ireland-France freight route, 21 December 2020.
  8. ^ Stena Line introducing second vessel on French route, 21 December 2020.
  9. ^ Demand for post-Brexit direct sailings to Europe surges, 30 December 2020.
  10. ^ Dublin Port warns of potential delays due to Brexit, 30 December 2020.
  11. ^ New extra Stena Line Cherbourg sailings make Rosslare Ireland’s leading port connecting industry to Europe
  12. ^ Announcement of a new ferry route between Ireland and France FR24News 27 November 2020
  13. ^ Stena Line's new Belfast ferry moves to Rosslare in 'Brexit busting move' BBC News 13 January 2021
  14. ^ In post-Brexit UK, quiet ports hide mounting transport chaos Aljazeera 8 January 2021
  15. ^ What is ENS and Why is There an ENS Charge?
  16. ^ Export goods from the UK: step by step Official UK Government website 30 December 2020
  17. ^ Pre-Boarding notification (PBN) Revenue Irish Tax and Customs official website 30 December 2020
  18. ^ Brexit delivers record freight for Rosslare on ferries to mainland EU: Southeast port boosted by fivefold increase in freight in January on continental sailings Irish Times 31 January 2021
  19. ^ January freight traffic up 45% at Rosslare Europort, European freight up 446% year-on-year Brexit RTE 1 February 2021
  20. ^ ‘It’s a shambles’ – Hauliers warn of food shortages as Brexit causes delays at Dublin Port 16 January 2021
  21. ^ Brexit: Dublin Port 'minefield' leaves trucks stranded BBC News 15 January 2021
  22. ^ Rosslare Bilbao Ferry, 28 February 2020.
  23. ^ Brittany Ferries Official Website.
  24. ^ Rosslare Dunkirk Ferry, 27 November 2020.
  25. ^ DFDS Official Website.
  26. ^ Brittany Ferries unveil new post-Brexit direct ferries to mainland EU: Three new ferry routes with France launched to meet business demand to avoid Britain Irish Times, February 2, 2021.
  27. ^ Brexit: Truckers arrive ‘fresh and well-fed’ after first Rosslare-Dunkirk sailing, 3 January 2021.
  28. ^ New Rosslare to Bilbao ferry service sets sail by Conor O'Kane, RTE News, February 28, 2020.
  29. ^ Brittany Ferries announces new services to Spain and France from Rosslare Irish Times, January 29, 2020.
  30. ^ Atlantic Loop Neptune Lines
  31. ^ Free Zone
  32. ^ Europort website
  33. ^ Inside the 'Brexit Bypass' as Rosslare Europort prepares to be gateway to Europe and Irish 'invasion of Dunkirk', 30 November 2020.
  34. ^ N11 / N25 Oilgate to Rosslare Harbour Scheme
  35. ^ Brexit: The Irish port of Rosslare is hoping to benefit, 26 December 2020.
  36. ^ Trade Cars
  37. ^ [1]
  38. ^ Lifeboat Station : Rosslare Harbour Archived 14 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ The Airport Company Archived 18 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ Weather Observing Stations – ROSSLARE
  41. ^ Europort website


  • Cowsill, Miles (1990). Fishguard Rosslare. Kilgetty, Pembrokeshire: Ferry Publications. ISBN 1871947065.
  • Coswill, Miles (2006). Fishguard-Rosslare: The Official 1906-2006 Anniversary Book. Ramsey, Isle of Man: Ferry Publications. ISBN 1871947820.
  • Merrigan, Justin (2010). Fishguard-Rosslare: The Album. Ramsey, Isle of Man: Ferry Publications. ISBN 9781906608248.

External links[edit]