Stena Line has confirmed that it is taking one of its vessels off the Rosslare to Cherbourg route for the height of the calf export season next spring.

However, calf exporters insisted that there will still be enough ferry capacity to the continent to meet their needs.

In a statement to the Irish Farmers Journal this week, Stena Line said it was taking the Stena Horizon off the route to northern France to cover other ships in its fleet which are going into drydock.

“Stena Line can confirm that during our dry-dock schedule in early 2024, Stena Horizon will be redeployed from the Rosslare-Cherbourg service to another route within our network.

“Stena Vision will continue to serve the Rosslare-Cherbourg route during this period and can transport livestock in accordance with Irish Government guidance,” a spokesperson for Stena Line said. “We will operate a single ship service from January to early April on Rosslare-Cherbourg,” the ferry company added.

Ferry capacity

Exporters maintained that there will be ferry capacity for more than 70 calf transporters per week between Stena Line and Irish Ferries, despite the loss of Stena Horizon. This equates to around 15,000 calves per week.

As the likely ferry capacity exceeds the lairage capacity in Cherbourg – which is close to 12,000 calves per week – exporters expressed confidence that the withdrawal of Stena Horizon will not impact calf exports this spring.

Ireland has exported 207,000 calves so far this year.

Meanwhile, ferry capacity and the new guidelines around calf exports will be discussed by the Calf Welfare Working Group, which is due to meet later this week.