Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Brittany Ferries Reveal Results for 2018 & Urges French Authorities to Keep Trade Flowing Freely Post-Brexit

25th March 2019

#ferries - Brittany Ferries resumed service on the Cork-Roscoff seasonal route last week and has recently revealed passenger, freight and financial results for 2018.

According to figures revealed by Brittany Ferries, passengers using the Ireland-France route totalled 86,388 (2016-217) and 97,174 (2017-2018) an increase of 12.5%. In terms of freight vehicles 494 were carried in (2016-2017) and 1,059 were transported during 2017-2018 a significant increase of 114.4.%

The encouraging results across the ferry operator's network come despite the pound being worth around 15% less than it was two years ago. That has proved challenging for a company whose income is generated in pounds sterling, with a cost-base in euros. Further challenges have come from on-going Brexit uncertainty and the effect this is having on summer 2019 bookings.The ferry company carried 2.6 million passengers on all routes last year, an increase of 1.4%. It made a profit of €8 million on a total turnover of €442m.

Brittany Ferries is a French company. But its success is largely built on British customers. In total, 85% of passengers come from the UK. It has therefore used its 2018 results to reinforce an important message to French government: take urgent steps to ensure British holiday makers and freight move freely. The regions of north west France depend upon Brittany Ferries as a significant wealth generator.

On 7 March 2019 Jean-Marc Roué, Brittany Ferries’ president, hosted Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs. Showing him around Roscoff port and its facilities, Roué talked at length about border controls and customs, as well as health and sanitary checks for goods arriving in France.

“Jean-Yves Le Drian told us that Roscoff will become a border post on the 29th March 2019,” said Roué. “In my view, the return of a border between France and the United Kingdom fully legitimises the return of dedicated air and border police. These Police Aux Frontières (PAF) would work alongside customs services in the same way they currently do in ports like St. Malo, Cherbourg and Le Havre. It is only a short-term solution in the event of a hard Brexit, but I am counting on the Minister to relay this proposal to the Government”

Concerns in France come as planning to minimise traffic queues on the UK side intensifies. Portsmouth, for example, is Brittany Ferries’ UK-hub. Recent exercises led by the Local Resilience Forum suggest that carefully managed traffic solutions can prevent freight delays en-route to the port, should the UK leave the EU without a deal on March 29th.

“We made a profit in 2018 thanks to a combination of careful management and structural change,” added Christophe Mathieu, CEO of Brittany Ferries. “Our positive results come despite the pound being worth significantly less than it was two years ago and as Brexit uncertainty weakens demand for trips to France and Spain this summer.

“We are now preparing for the years ahead. We have invested in three new ships and have made a clear commitment to the regions we serve. The challenge now is one for the French government in particular. All steps must be taken to ensure we have the right frameworks in place in Brittany and Normandy post-Brexit to keep goods flowing freely and to ensure our British passengers have the confidence to sail this summer and in the years to come.”

Brittany Ferries operates 11 routes linking the UK, France, Spain and Ireland with twelve ships, four of which are chartered. In the UK it operates services from Portsmouth to four destinations in France and two in northern Spain. From Poole it sails to Cherbourg and operates a freight-only service to Bilbao.

Plymouth has been linked to Roscoff since the company’s first sailing on 2 January 1973, the day after the UK joined the Common Market (forerunner to the EU). Today ferries also link Plymouth with northern Spain.

More than half a billion euros were spent by Brittany Ferries’ customers visiting France last year. There were 854,000 unique visitors, staying 9.2 million bed-nights. Brittany, Normandy and the Loire were the biggest regional winners. Brittany hosted 295,000 visitors generating €150m in wealth for the region. Normandy welcomed 219,000 guests who spent €78m; the Loire received 143,000 visitors who spent €78m, thanks to British customers.

Three new ships have been ordered post-Brexit, following an investment of €450m in the company’s future. Two of these ships will be powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas), a fuel that reduces sulphur and particulate emissions to almost zero and cuts average CO2 (carbon dioxide) output by around 20 per cent.

When the newbuild arrives at the end of the year, Honfleur will be the first ferry on the English Channel to be powered by LNG. As well as environmental credentials, the new ferry will also embody the company’s drive towards a digital future and ambition to reveal even more fabulous destinations around the coastlines of the European west.

Published in Brittany Ferries
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

Email The Author

Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

About Brittany Ferries

In 1967 a farmer from Finistère in Brittany, Alexis Gourvennec, succeeded in bringing together a variety of organisations from the region to embark on an ambitious project: the aim was to open up the region, to improve its infrastructure and to enrich its people by turning to traditional partners such as Ireland and the UK. In 1972 BAI (Brittany-England-Ireland) was born.

The first cross-Channel link was inaugurated in January 1973, when a converted Israeli tank-carrier called Kerisnel left the port of Roscoff for Plymouth carrying trucks loaded with Breton vegetables such as cauliflowers and artichokes. The story, therefore, begins on 2 January 1973, 24 hours after Great Britain's entry into the Common Market (EEC).

From these humble beginnings however, Brittany Ferries as the company was re-named quickly opened up to passenger transport, then became a tour operator.

Today, Brittany Ferries has established itself as the national leader in French maritime transport: an atypical leader, under private ownership, still owned by a Breton agricultural cooperative.

Eighty five percent of the company’s passengers are British.

Key Brittany Ferries figures:

  • Turnover: €202.4 million (compared with €469m in 2019)
  • Investment in three new ships, Galicia plus two new vessels powered by cleaner LNG (liquefied natural gas) arriving in 2022 and 2023
  • Employment: 2,474 seafarers and shore staff (average high/low season)
  • Passengers: 752,102 in 2020 (compared with 2,498,354 in 2019)
  • Freight: 160,377 in 2020 (compared with 201,554 in 2019)
  • Twelve ships operating services that connect France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain (non-Covid year) across 14 routes
  • Twelve ports in total: Bilbao, Santander, Portsmouth, Poole, Plymouth, Cork, Rosslare, Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Saint-Malo, Roscoff
  • Tourism in Europe: 231,000 unique visitors, staying 2.6 million bed-nights in France in 2020 (compared with 857,000 unique visitors, staying 8,7 million bed-nights in 2019).

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating