Brittany Ferries is introducing three new weekly freight only sailings between Ireland and France to service increased demand from hauliers. 

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

Meanwhile the first of two new sailings out of Cork to Roscoff will begin this Saturday.  

Brittany Ferries said these sailings are in addition to its current sailings out of Cork and Rosslare to both France and Spain.  

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

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

These three new sailings come in addition to an extra weekly Rosslare to Cherbourg round trip which was introduced last month. 

Brittany Ferries said this means that from February the company is able to offer hauliers a choice of eight sailings a week in each direction between Ireland and France.

It also offers two weekly roundtrips between Rosslare and Bilbao in northern Spain. 

Altogether the company will be offering 12 sailings a week linking Ireland with France and Spain.

Hugh Bruton, General Manager at Brittany Ferries Ireland, said it is clear that Brexit has distorted flows of trade between France and Ireland and there is now clear and compelling demand both in Brittany and beyond to boost freight capacity direct from the region to Ireland. 

He sad that Irish traders are also seeking direct links to Western France. 

Conor Mowlds, Chief Commercial Officer at Port of Cork said the decision by Brittany Ferries to operate two freight only services from Cork to St Malo and Roscoff is hugely positive for Cork.

"Importers and exporters now have further transport options to get their freight direct to the EU and bypass the UK landbridge.These direct freight services from Cork to the EU strengthen the region by offering more flexibility to Irish customers, ensuring supply chains are maintained," Mr Mowlds said. 

"Our relationship with Brittany Ferries spans over 40 years and it continues to go from strength to strength," he added.

Glenn Carr, General Manager at Rosslare Europort, said the continuing commitment of Brittany Ferries to develop new services linking Irish industry to the European continent is once again demonstrated with this new service connecting to St Malo and Roscoff.  

"We have worked closely with Brittany Ferries to facilitate this new service, which will give further choice and capacity alongside existing Brittany Ferries services between Rosslare Europort and Bilbao and Cherbourg," Mr Carr said.