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Displaying items by tag: Eurotunnel

Operator P&O Ferries is seeking almost £33m in damages from the UK government over its handling of a challenge to ferry contracts under a no-deal Brexit.

The British-based shipping company, BBC reports, also wants courts to cancel the Department for Transport's settlement with Eurotunnel, and impose civil penalties.

In March, the DfT agreed to pay £33m to Eurotunnel, after the cross-channel operator sued for not being considered for a no-deal Brexit freight contract.

The DfT said it acted appropriately.

"This cross-government decision helped protect vital freight capacity for medical supplies to enter the country, in the event the UK left the EU without a deal," a spokesperson said.

As part of the agreement with Eurotunnel, the French company was mandated to spend £33m of taxpayers' money on improvements to the infrastructure of its terminal in Folkestone.

To read more including 'Mininum Disruption' at UK borders click here.

Published in Ferry

#ferries- Operator P&O Ferries is suing the UK government over its £33m settlement with Eurotunnel, in the latest controversy over the Department for Transport’s (DfT) fraught no-deal Brexit preparations.

As writes The Guardian, the department was forced into the £33m payout after failing to include Eurotunnel in its agreements with ferry operators to provide emergency cross-Channel services, including the scrapped contract with Seaborne Freight. (Afloat adds see related Arklow Shipping story)

The DfT had signed deals worth £89m with Brittany Ferries and DFDS to secure routes for vital goods in the event of no deal, with forecasts of massive congestion on the routes to Dover and Calais where most freight traffic flows.

Now P&O is contesting the compensation awarded to Eurotunnel, claiming it leaves its ferry service facing an unfair disadvantage.

Further reading on the story can be read here. 

Published in Ferry

#ferries - The UK government the BBC reports, will pay £33m to Eurotunnel in an agreement to settle a lawsuit over extra ferry services in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

In December, the Department for Transport (DfT) contracted three suppliers to provide additional freight capacity on ferries for lorries.

But Eurotunnel said the contracts were handed out in a "secretive" way.

As part of the agreement, Eurotunnel has agreed to make some improvements to its terminal.

One of the firms awarded a ferry contract, Seaborne Freight, has already had its deal cancelled after the backing of an Irish company (Arklow Shipping) pulled out.

Shortly after it was awarded the contract, the BBC found out that Seaborne had no ships and had never run a ferry service.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has been heavily criticised for the Seaborne deal, which would have been worth £13.8m.

In January, Eurotunnel wrote to Mr Grayling to complain that it had not been considered when the contracts were awarded.

It argued that unlike Seaborne, it has actually run a cross-Channel ferry service (MyFerryLink, which closed in 2015) and should have been approached.

For much more on the Eurotunnel settlement relative to the Brexit ferry fiasco, click here.

Published in Ferry

#MyFerry – The Dover-Calais operater MyFerry owned by Eurotunnel will be stopped from operating after the UK's Competition Commission (CC) decided that its acquisition of three ferries and other assets from the former ferry operator, SeaFrance, could mean higher prices for cross-Channel passengers and freight customers.

In its final report published yesterday, the CC has concluded that by adding ferry services to its existing Channel Tunnel business, Eurotunnel would increase its market share to over half and prices would rise. This confirms the CC's provisional findings which were published in February as previously reported on Afloat.ie

The CC found that Eurotunnel decided to acquire the SeaFrance ferries in order to prevent ferry operator DFDS/LD from buying them. Eurotunnel was concerned that if DFDS/LD obtained the assets cheaply, it could drive down prices for customers.

The CC also found that one of the three current ferry operators on the Dover–Calais route was likely to exit in the short term, if the CC took no action, in which case Eurotunnel could gain an even larger share of the cross-Channel market.

 

Published in Ferry

#FerryCompetition – English Channel passengers and freight customers could face increased prices following Eurotunnel's acquisition of ferry operator, SeaFrance (Dover-Calais) the Competition Commission (CC) has provisionally found.

According to a summary of the CC's provisional findings published today, by adding ferry services to its existing Channel Tunnel business, Eurotunnel would significantly increase its already high share of the cross-Channel market and prices would rise.

The CC also found that Eurotunnel decided to acquire the SeaFrance ferries in order to prevent ferry operator DFDS/LD from buying them. Eurotunnel was concerned that if DFDS/LD obtained the assets cheaply, it could drive down prices for customers. For more on this story, from the UK's Competition Commission, click HERE.

 

Published in Ferry

#StraitofDover– Dover's largest ferry operator P&O Ferries have written to the UK Office of Fair Trading, expressing concern over Eurotunnel's inclusion in a final round process to manage French shortsea ports Calais and Boulogne.

The Channel Tunnel operator's move could lead to 'substantial lessening of competition' in shortsea services between the UK and France.

Chief executive of P&O Ferries, Helen Deeble, said a successful bid by the Channel Tunnel operator could lead to a "substantial lessening of competition" in shortsea services between the UK and France.

Calais and Boulogne, owned by the Nord Pas de Calais Chamber of Commerce, comprise two of the three French shortsea ports serving ro-ro traffic out of the UK.

Ms Deeble, who is also the current president of the UK Chamber of Shipping, said a successful Eurotunnel bid would amount to a "relevant merger" within the Enterprise Act 2002, providing grounds for the OFT to investigate.

P&O Ferries, owned by Dubai World, further argues that the ports of Calais and Boulogne "would cease to be distinct from Eurotunnel" and that £70m ($109.8m) of UK derived turnover would be acquired by Eurotunnel.

As a result, said P&O Ferries: "More than 25% of France-based French sea port services for ex-UK ferry traffic is or will be provided by a single entity, Eurotunnel."   

For much more on this story Lloyd's List has a report.

 

Published in Ferry

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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