French Ports Cut Out Of EU Trade Route After Brexit

By | 2018 Newsletter week 34 | No Comments

French ports were excluded from European Commission plans for a new shipping route linking Ireland with the Continent post Brexit — potentially preventing them from accessing billions of euros in EU grants.

The Commission adopted a proposal to revise the routing of one of its strategic transport corridors to connect Dublin and Cork with the Belgian ports of Zeebrugge and Antwerp and the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, to channel trade directly from Ireland to mainland Europe after Brexit.

Comment from Ferry Shipping News: Jean-Marc Roué, President of French Shipowners and Brittany Ferries is shocked by the intention to exclude the ports in Brittany and the English Channel, and says action needs to be taken to change the plans.


By | 2018 Newsletter week 26 | No Comments

Port of Zeebrugge Will Become Entirely Brexit Proof

Ferry Shipping News visited Port of Zeebrugge’s CEO, Mr Joachim Coens, for an interview.

Mr Coens was one of the distinguished speakers at our Ferry Shipping Summit in Amsterdam.

Unsurprisingly the main subject of the conversation was the importance of the United Kingdom as a trading partner, its ro-ro services, and the issues around the Brexit.


By | 2018 Newsletter week 23 | No Comments

As The Clock Ticks, Brexit Frustration Is Growing

CEO Port of Zeebrugge, Joachim Coens, and Deputy CEO Port of Calais Benoit Rochet paid a visit to the British House of Commons on June 5, for a session about “UK’s economic relationship with the European Union”. The Belgian and the French Port demand urgent clarity on what will happen post-Brexit in order to secure a smooth transition.

Mr Coens asked for clarity about the transition period. “The transition period of two years is fine, provided we know from the beginning of that transition period what we have to do. We cannot be ready if there is uncertainty in the transition period.”

Some of the hot topics outlined by Mr Coens:

  • The need for a good and comprehensive trade agreement EU-UK.
  • Preserve current free movement of goods as much as possible.
  • Guaranteed efficient and fast transit of – European and international – goods through the port.
  • No import duties – minimal non-tariff barriers.
  • EU and UK customs administrations need to start preparing and cooperating.

“We know there is Brexit but we don’t know exactly what Brexit means,” said Port of Calais CEO Benoit Rochet.


By | 2018 Newsletter week 10 | No Comments

ESPO Asks Brexit Negotiators To Prioritise Impact For Ports In The Assessment Of Potential Post-Brexit Scenarios

The European Sea Ports Organisation has developed a position paper to submit to the negotiators now that Brexit has entered the second phase.
With this paper, ESPO calls on the Brexit negotiators to prioritise transport and more in particular maritime transport in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations.


By | 2018 Newsletter week 08 | No Comments

European Shipowners Urge For Certainty As Soon As Possible On EU/UK Trade Framework

In a public hearing in the European Parliament’s Transport committee, ECSA’s Secretary General Martin Dorsman discussed the long term objectives for the European shipowners and said: “It is crucial that the EU remains a competitive location for shipping companies to do business. This means a level playing field and close EU-UK cooperation.
Time is running fast and business needs to be able to prepare now. ECSA stresses three immediate priorities for shipowners:

  • Frictionless traffic by sea between the UK and the EU,
  • Free movement of seafarers, onshore staff and passengers
  • Continued market access to the domestic trade and the offshore sector

Currently EU27 exports of goods and services to UK is worth € 365 billion which means 54% of total UK imports and UK exports of goods and services to the EU is € 274 billion equaling 43% of total UK exports.
The increase of freight traffic since 1993 has been enormous, from 1 million lorries in 1993 to 4 million lorries in 2015. Between UK and Ireland it means an increase from 54,000 lorries in 1993 to 392,000 lorries in 2015.

In the shadow of the Brexit, Brittany Ferries’ strategy of diversification has proven successful

By | 2017 Newsletter week 43 | No Comments

The latest Brittany Ferries report shows the first results after the Brexit referendum.

For the year 2016-2017, Brittany Ferries sees the following trends:

  • The cross-Channel passenger market is dropping (-5%), which is in contrast with the long routes to Ireland and Spain, which see a rise (+5%).
  • All routes together, passenger traffic is down 3%.
  • Freight is performing well, on all routes (+4%). For cross-Channel ferry services this means +2%, and for Spain +14%. The Motorways of the Seas between the UK and Spain has reached the symbolic level of 40,000 freight units.

In its analysis, Brittany Ferries found out that its faithful British repeat customers (members of the Club Voyage) continue to use the ferry services in the same numbers.

However, first time travellers seem to be less attracted by the ferry, and by France as a destination. Chairman Jean-Marc Roué calls for an unprecedented promotional campaign, to make France attractive to more people again.

The Brexit is a challenge, as well as the impact of the current low level of the British Pound, which will strongly impact Brittany Ferries’ future financial results, according to Mr Roué.

Jean-Marc Roué is happy with the strategy of the last ten years, where not all eggs have been put in one basket. The diversity of ferry routes and ships has proven to be the best recipe for stability.

Year 2016-2017 (2015-2016)

Pax cross-Channel: 1,958,000 (2,056,000)(-5%)

Pax long routes: 394,000 (376,000)(+5%)

Pax total: 2,352,000 (2,432,000)(-3%)

Freight units cross-Channel: 173,000 (169,000)(+2%)

Freight units long routes: 40,000 (35,000)(+14%)

Freigh units total: 213,000 (204,000)(+4%)

Photo: ETRETAT in Le Havre © Mike Louagie