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Eurotunnel Sells MyFerryLink Twins to DFDS

15th June 2015
Eurotunnel Sells MyFerryLink Twins to DFDS

#DoverCalaisLloyds Loading List reports that the Eurotunnel Group announced last week that it agreed to sell the main assets of its MyFerryLink maritime business, claiming that "the conditions necessary to develop freely did not exist".

Eurotunnel said it had received a binding offer from DFDS for a "let to buy sale" of two of its three ferries, Rodin and Berlioz. It added that it "regrets" that the SCOP SeaFrance workers co-operative that has operated the vessels since their purchase by Eurotunnel from SeaFrance "has not had the support it needed to be able to present a takeover proposal".

With regard to MyFerryLink's third vessel, Nord Pas de Calais, Eurotunnel said: "In order to maintain its transport operations, Eurotunnel Group will ask the competition authorities to lift the current prohibition and to enable it to be operated in coordination with the Fixed Link."

Eurotunnel said it believed the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) "should not oppose" the completion of the sale of the two ferries, "which will lead to two maritime operators of equal importance".

With this sale, Eurotunnel said it would "ensure that the activity remains in Calais, a situation which was not achieved when the SeaFrance Moliere was sold by its owner, Le Credit Lyonnais, to be operated in the Irish Sea".

Afloat.ie adds that SeaFrance Moliere which spent a stint for DFDS also on the Dover-Calais service was introduced in March as Stena Superfast X on the Dublin Port-Holyhead route.

The newcomer directly replaced Stena Nordica which incidentally serves for DFDS on the premier UK-France short sea service as Malo Seaways.

For more on this ferry industry development, Lloyds Loading List has the full report here.

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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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. 

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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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