Three new weekly freight-only sailings are to begin this week between Ireland and France, with Brittany Ferries announcing the new sailings are due to demand from hauliers.

The sailings will begin on Thursday 4 February, with a sailing between Rosslare and St Malo.

These new freight-only routes will operate until the end of March, when scheduled freight and passenger services will resume between Cork and Roscoff.

The first of two added sailings between Cork and Roscoff will begin on Saturday 6 February.

These sailings are in addition to the current Brittany Ferries sailings out of Cork and Rosslare to both France and Spain.

The extra sailings are in response to demand from both Irish and French hauliers seeking a more direct route, a Brittany Ferries spokesperson said.

UK landbridge

“Normally, most lorries travelling between Ireland and France transit via the UK, using ferry services across the Irish Sea and English Channel.

“However, since new post-Brexit trade rules were introduced on 1 January, increasing numbers of Irish and continental hauliers have been deterred from using this landbridge due to increased customs checks and paperwork,” the spokesperson said.

Brittany Ferries Ireland general manager Hugh Bruton said it’s clear that Brexit has distorted the flow of trade between France and Ireland, adding that there is clear and compelling demand both in Brittany and beyond to boost freight capacity direct from the region to Ireland.

He added: “Irish traders too are seeking direct links to western France.

“We’re always listening to our haulier customers in order to best meet their needs and we look forward to restarting Brittany-Ireland services two months earlier than planned."

The new routes bring to eight the number of weekly sailings between Ireland and France for hauliers.