Brittany Ferries is to introduce major changes to its Ireland-Spain ferry route, with effect from 28 February 2020.
The company says its ferries will in future sail from Rosslare to Bilbao, replacing the existing Cork to Santander route.
In a statement on the company's website Brittany Ferries CEO Christophe Mathieu said: 'This was not a decision we took lightly and follows extensive consultation with our freight customers who sought better road connections and reduced driving distances.
'We opened the route in 2018 with a two-year trial window. While passenger numbers have been encouraging, the reality is that freight numbers, which are key to route viability, were not sufficiently robust.'
Rosslare, Ireland's second ranking ro-ro freight port, boasts more port space than Cork and currently is investing in a €25m modernisation programme.
The direct motorway from Rosslare to Dublin is far shorter than the distance from Cork, located in the south of Ireland, to the capital.
Meanwhile in 2018 Bilbao, Spain's leading Atlantic seaboard container port handled 638,000teu and twice the number of trucks than Santander. The new service will operate based on two return trips every week.
Brittany Ferries also confirmed its ongoing commitment to the Cork-Roscoff service, which will continue to be a primary tourism route, both to and from Ireland.