Trouble with the Ferries?
Updated: Sep 23
The renewal of the 14 day British quarantine measures has badly hit the cross channel ferry services, especially Brittany Ferries which is the biggest passenger transport company with routes between the UK & France. The director general of Brittany Ferries, Mr Christophe Mathieu has warned that the new quarantine measures will have serious consequences for the firm.
Speaking on FranceInfo he said: “This is a sledgehammer blow. We already did not have enough passenger activity in the months of April, May or June. This weekend (22/08) we were supposed to transport 5,400 passengers between England and France. Now, we will only transport 2,300."
For the same weekend last year, BF transported 13,400 passengers & they thought that this would now be down to 40% of the normal summer figures , but now it seems the season will end with just half of these reduced passenger numbers.
He continued: “We were already on our knees following the first period of confinement, which was already extremely critical. And here, with this announcement, having no idea how long it will last nor stay in place, we fear that from September and October, reservations may be very, very low in winter, until at least Spring 2021 - and that is if a vaccine or solutions are found.”
Brittany Ferries is more vulnerable than DFDS, EuroTunnel or P&O as it relies more on passenger traffic with up to 85% of its activity is in passenger vehicles. The UK to France market represents the biggest sector of their business and this quarantine measure has forced them to reconsider how best to deploy their fleet in the coming weeks and months. Ferry sailings to Spain are currently being consolidated but as yet, there is no consolidation plan confirmed for their UK to France network, however there are several contingencies being considered.
DFDS Ferries has confirmed that all routes between UK & France are still in operation & running to normal schedules.
P&O Ferries have said that their ferries are still running on the Dover to Calais routes for ‘essential travel and freight services’.
EuroTunnel are also operating with shuttles running regularly.
Following the previous announcement & after 35,000 passengers cancelled their bookings, Brittany Ferries have confirmed that two ferries will be laid up & a third will not resume crossings. This will have the following effects:
Plymouth to Roscoff: From 10/09/20 there will be just 3 crossings / week.
Portsmouth to St Malo: From 7/09/20, one ship will be laid up.
Plymouth to Santander: There will be one return sailing/ week.
The financial problems for Brittany Ferries continue but they have been given a 15 million euro reimbursement by the French government as part of an aid package whilst the regions of Normandy & Brittany have offered 85 million euros of aid to support the ailing ferry company.