New Project Submitted by Corsica Linea and La Méridionale

By | 2020 Newsletter week 5 | No Comments

Corsica Linea and La Méridionale have finally agreed to join forces for the public service contract for maritime services between Marseille and Corsica, from 1 January 2021 till 31 December 2027.

Right on time, because the deadline was 14 February 2020.

In this common project, Corsica Linea would have an exclusivity for the port of Bastia (source: Le Journal de la Marine Marchande). Remember, before, La Méridionale used to operate ropax PIANA on this route.

Since 10 January a strike is immobilising all Marseille – Corsica ferry operations. The unions want to have guarantees for jobs at La Méridionale, and they want the ships to be able to sail on the two main routes, Ajaccio and Bastia. The strike is also related to the countrywide protest against Macron’s pension reform plan.

From what we understand, this year’s public service contract, which runs until 31 December 2020, will be divided in two periods, from now until end of April, and from May until the end of the year. For the second part a new tender will be issued.

French Blockade Affects Crossings between Marseille, Corsica, Tunisia and Algeria

By | 2020 Newsletter week 3 | No Comments

Since 10 January unions from La Méridionale are on strike. They started a blockade, affecting two of their ferries and three from Corsica Linea.

What they want is an agreement for a new cooperation between La Méridionale and Corsica Linea, to operate the Corsica routes together, as in the past.

They fear that La Méridionale will have to close business. The company lost the two most important routes, Bastia and Ajaccio, which has the highest number of freight.

On 9 January, a new call for operators for the secondary routes (Marseille – Propriano and Marseille – Porto Vecchio) has been launched, for a temporary public service contract until end of 2020. Why? Because the ‘Office des Transports Corse’ deemed that the estimated capacities were wrong, after recalculating them. They say that on Porto-Vechio 220,000 lane metres are needed, whilst only 160,000 have been foreseen. It is the other way around in Propriano, where 66,000 is enough, against 96,000 planned.

There is a lot of criticism on this cancellation of the previous public service contract, “as if the rules of the game were changed during the game.”

DANIELLA CASANOVA has been diverted to Toulon. However, when the ship arrived in Ajaccio on Monday evening, the unions decided not to let her disembark passengers. DANIELLE CASANOVA and MEGA ANDREA have been rerouted to Propriano, where the port was guarded by police.

The crisis comes at a time when tourists start to think about their summer holidays.

Corsica Linea also had to cancel the crossings to Tunisia and Algeria.

Grimaldi Group Intends To Charter La Meridionale’s Ropax GIROLATA

By | 2019 Newsletter week 41 | No Comments

Unconfirmed information claims that Grimaldi Lines intends to charter the ropax GIROLATA of the French company La Méridionale. The former Minoan Line’s ARETOUSA, has left the Marseilles – Corsica route after the French company was not chosen to operate the public service.

She might return to the Adriatic Sea in order to replace the Grimaldi Group’s ships that will have exhaust gas cleaning systems units installed.

The charter period is likely to begin in November, until spring 2020. To be confirmed.

LIVERPOOL SEAWAYS To Go To La Méridionale In April 2020

By | 2019 Newsletter week 36 | No Comments

As expected, DFDS agreed to sell ro-pax LIVERPOOL SEAWAYS to La Méridionale.
LIVERPOOL SEAWAYS is currently deployed in DFDS’ Baltic route network and is planned to be replaced by a ferry from DFDS’ existing fleet.
Completion of the sale is agreed for April 2020 with proceeds of around DKK 200m and an expected accounting profit of around DKK 100m to be recorded under Special items.

FERRY SHIPPING

By | 2019 Newsletter week 26 | No Comments

Corsica Very Worried About the Strike at the Beginning of the Holiday Season

La Méridionale is on strike and unions block the port of Marseille.

The industrial action started six days ago. Two ships from La Méridionale and three ships from Corsica Linea are currently blocked.

The reason is the fact that La Méridionale has been excluded from the latest DSP, at least from three of the five ports. The main ones!

La Méridionale, traditionally a partner of Corsica Linea (and before SNCM), decided this time to tender alone for the DSP.

Because the company only owns three vessels they needed to acquire two extra ships, which didn’t go easy. A plan to charter a Stena RoRo ship couldn’t be realised. Last minute La Méridionale had to change their plans, and it was said they were going to have LIVERPOOL SEAWAYS instead.

Another ship that was going to reinforce the three-ship fleet had to be changed eventually.

Because of the different characteristics of the initially planned vessels, it was decided the candidature of La Mériodionale was not valid.

This means that in spite of their historic track record (with no industrial actions as with the defunct SNCM), La Méridionale will be excluded from all major Corsican services tenders.

The Corsican tourist industry is of course very worried, with the 1st of July around the corner.

The customer information page on the La Méridionale website explains (in French) the ‘why’ of the strike.

Ferry Shipping News translated the last paragraph:

“Today, at the dawn of a decision taken by partisan parties and stained by procedure errors, our candidature to (de)serve the Corsicans and Corsica is about to be rejected for the next 15 months.

Tomorrow, you (the customer) will no longer have a free choice.”

LIVERPOOL SEAWAYS To Be Sold To La Méridionale

By | 2019 Newsletter week 22 | No Comments

NOTICE: Ferry Shipping News doesn’t want to bring rumours. Sometimes information is reliable, even before any official statement. This story is a good example. It has multiple sources. However, neither DFDS, nor La Méridionale confirmed the transaction.

La Méridionale, one of the two ferry companies operating between Marseille and Corsica, urgently needed an extra ferry to be able to respond to the conditions required by the “DSP” public service contract, which starts in October.

First the French company was going to charter Stena RoRo’s AF MICHELA, actually operating between Ancona and Durrës for Adria Ferries.

Since this vessel was not available (French media report that a Letter of Intent for the charter was cancelled just before the deadline), La Méridionale had quickly to find another vessel with similar characteristics, important to match the criteria described in the DSP contract.

LIVERPOOL SEAWAYS is a near sister of AF MICHELA, built by Visentini.

LIVERPOOL SEAWAYS is currently operating on Kapellskär-Paldiski.

Social Unrest At La Meridionale

By | 2019 Newsletter week 8 | No Comments

What happens now at La Meridionale is very unusual for this ferry company belonging to the STEF Group: there is social agitation.

The reason is that La Meridionale will only be allowed to sail to Bastia, Ile-Rousse and Porto-Vecchio, and no longer to the major port of Ajaccio, and Propriano.

The case has to do with the delegation of public services (starting in October, for a duration of 15 months).

The candidature of Corsica Linea was retained for five ports. Since Corsica Linea and La Meridionale tendered separately, this would mean that the latter will be excluded from these ports.

Because the unions fear the fact that one vessel might be withdrawn from the service, making crews redundant, they started to call for action.

The company announced they will appeal against the decision.

IN THE MEDIA

By | 2018 Newsletter week 39 | No Comments

La Méridionale Presents LNG As Shore Power Solution In Ajaccio

Ferry company La Méridionale has done a test with an LNG-powered genset for cold ironing, in Ajaccio, with their ferry GIROLATA. The demonstration was given on 20 September in front of several local decision makers and politicians.

To make cold ironing happen, money will have to be invested by the authorities. Also, to make it possible, an economically viable model will have to be created.