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      Newbuild News   23/01/18

      UPDATE: With the arrival of two newbuild ships to the fleet in the coming years, we've resurrected 'Newbuild News' to act as a place to keep the latest information on the progress of the Honfleur and the as-yet-unnamed E-Flexer being built by Stena for charter to BF.
Andy

BF Confirm Charter of 'E-Flexer'

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Brittany Ferries confirms passenger and freight numbers – and a new ship charter

- Total freight units carried 213,000, an increase of 4 percent
- Total passengers carried 2,352,000, a drop of 3 percent
- Passenger numbers on long routes (UK-Spain and France to Ireland) 394,000 up 5 percent
- Passenger numbers on channel routes (UK-France) 1,958,000 down 5 percent

As the season draws to a close, Brittany Ferries has today confirmed a 4 percent rise in freight traffic, but a 3 percent drop in overall passenger numbers.

The figures, which cover the period from November ‘16 to October ‘17, present a mixed picture for the business which operates from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth in the UK. Cross Channel passenger numbers, which comprise 80 percent of the total, fell by 5 percent. Routes to Spain and between France and Ireland reported an increase of 5 percent.

The company’s results point to tougher trading conditions in the wake of the Brexit vote, but also confirmation that the company’s diversification strategy is working.

“There are positive indicators in these results, such as our freight figures, but we can say for sure that Brexit is affecting us commercially and financially,” said Christophe Mathieu Brittany Ferries chief executive officer. “Long routes from the UK to Spain and between France and Ireland have performed well, but passenger traffic from the UK to France has fallen significantly. This is the majority of our business and the downturn comes on both sides of the Channel, so a decline in the number of French visitors coming to the UK too.

“In addition to these challenges our financial results have been affected by the dramatic fall in the value of the pound. Despite this, we remain confident in our diversification strategy. We are also optimistic about the future and are committed to investing in fleet renewal.”

Following a £175 million investment in a new ship called Honfleur, to be delivered in 2019 for the Portsmouth-Caen route, the company has confirmed investment in a second vessel. To be chartered from Stena Line following its construction in China, she will further increase capacity on Spanish routes when delivered ahead of the 2021 season.

The charter will come with more on-board accommodation and a large garage for passenger and freight vehicles. She will replace Baie de Seine and Brittany Ferries will have the option to purchase after the expiry of the initial five year charter.

Press Release: Issued 1st November

 

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I don’t know why Cotentin isn’t hauled back for duty.  If freight is picking up, then surely  using their own vessel would be sensible.

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The intention for the charter (which could well become a purchase, and effectively almost a purpose-built one at that) is to replace BDS as a passenger and freight vessel, with an enhancement in capacity of both.  That is not a role that Cotentin could fill - even if she was available (which she doesn’t seem to be).

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It would seem Cotentin is firmly established with Stena in the Baltic as Stena Baltica where she seems to be doing well.  "Ferry & Cruise Review" say she is in immaculate condition and her manoeuvrability in adverse weather conditions impressive.  Thus it was no surprise Stena were keen to get hold of this vessel.  Thus I doubt very much if she will be returning to the English Channel anytime soon.

I just wonder what PHC think of all of this.  After all Cotentin was built for services from Poole and a capital dredge carried out to accomodate her.  One does wonder why she was chartered out especially now that the PIP is showing definite signs of getting congested.  Maybe a big freighter at Poole might have been a good idea.  We'll just have to wait and see what happens.

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I have heard that the Pelican may be replaced with a possible replacement by a larger vessel.

Edited by seadog
spotted the charter renewal thread.

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29 minutes ago, seadog said:

I have heard that the Pelican may be replaced with a possible replacement by a larger vessel.

In this event one wonders if the service will continue to use Poole.  However I don't know where BF'll go if they don't.

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Where has the need for an alternative port come from?  I’ve not heard any suggestion that bringing in a bigger ship will be coupled with moving away from Poole, and not does it make any logical sense to draw such an inference.  Poole-Santander has been served by bigger ships in the past.

This thread is in the News forum, so let’s keep posts with a basis in fact.  The idea that bringing in a bigger ship will necessarily result in a move away from Poole has no basis in fact and is just random speculation.

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Half the threads? I hope you can prove that and it's not just a random figure plucked from thin air. We all know that 90% of statistics are made up on the spot for the purposes of justifying an argument. :D Ed. 

Happy New Year to all! 

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7 hours ago, Gareth said:

 

 

7 hours ago, Gareth said:

Where has the need for an alternative port come from?  I’ve not heard any suggestion that bringing in a bigger ship will be coupled with moving away from Poole, and not does it make any logical sense to draw such an inference.  Poole-Santander has been served by bigger ships in the past.

This thread is in the News forum, so let’s keep posts with a basis in fact.  The idea that bringing in a bigger ship will necessarily result in a move away from Poole has no basis in fact and is just random speculation.

Perhaps further discussion of this topic should be in the thread devoted to MN Pelican staying at Poole for two more years since it would seem to be dealing with what will happen when the Pelican's charter ends in year's time I believe it is -- unless BF are planning to end her charter early.

 

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Interesting statistics. More passengers on longer routes, more services to Spain, less passengers on the channel routes. Yet still no service to La Rochelle which would fit with the obvious market trends and could be accommodated for a one year trial as a once a week stop in each direction en route to Spain. It's time to give it a try. 

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18 minutes ago, Jooles said:

Interesting statistics. More passengers on longer routes, more services to Spain, less passengers on the channel routes. Yet still no service to La Rochelle which would fit with the obvious market trends and could be accommodated for a one year trial as a once a week stop in each direction en route to Spain. It's time to give it a try. 

Mmm, bit far into town from the Mole descale plus no linkspan. We've all discussed the attraction of a possible call at Bordeaux especially as they already have the facilities at both terminals.

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8 hours ago, Jooles said:

Interesting statistics. More passengers on longer routes, more services to Spain, less passengers on the channel routes. Yet still no service to La Rochelle which would fit with the obvious market trends and could be accommodated for a one year trial as a once a week stop in each direction en route to Spain. It's time to give it a try. 

What about a call at somewhere like Montoir / Saint Nazaire enroute to Spain - if timed right and with one of the Economie ships could also be very profitable with France - Spain traffic too.  A call departing France on Friday night and departing Spain Sunday afternoon could be hugely attractive commercially based on what LD were doing on that route. (Those two sailings would have been profitable even without subsidy).

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Here is a point for consideration - might BF charter another E-flexer?  A new model of services might allow replacement of the Pont-Aven with something more freight focused but with the frequency of services and potential cabin configuration arranged in such a way to present no drop in passenger capacity.

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Hi Rick,

I think that idea definitely has potential. Let’s face it, despite several years trying to fund new builds BF have only succeeded to persuade the banks/financial institutions to cough up for Honfleur - the dreaded “B” word has put paid to further investment in the short to medium term. The company can only realistically look at investing in new/secondhand tonnage if said investment can grow a route. 

Once Honfleur arrives Portsmouth - Caen is set fair for at least a decade and Normandie will boost the Le Havre route. Barfleur plods on until she falls apart and Plymouth - Roscoff is well served by Armorique. We all know Bretagne is probably past her sell buy date (sorry Ross Brown) yet the route is popular and needs a larger vessel with more cabin space. 

I have heard on the internal grapevine there could be an announcement later on this year regarding Bretagne, and more specifically the future of the St-Malo route. As you say a second e-flexer would mean roughly the same capacity to Spain as exists today (we were on the PA to Santander in mid-July last year and she was only two thirds full) so there may be some disappointed customers during high season,   But more importantly this releases Pont-Aven to take over and really grow the route, without BF having to commit to a new build with all the inherent risks that involves.

Only time will tell but I can see a lot of mileage in this one.

Chris

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I wouldn't expect an announcement of anything concrete this year Chris. However there are exciting plans being put together.

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Wasn't there talk when the first one was ordered of BF taking another E-Flexer if the second 4 were built?

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15 hours ago, RickOShea said:

Here is a point for consideration - might BF charter another E-flexer?  A new model of services might allow replacement of the Pont-Aven with something more freight focused but with the frequency of services and potential cabin configuration arranged in such a way to present no drop in passenger capacity.

I think both CF & PA will be replaced with E-Flexers all of them having the 120 vehicle car decks removed allowing more inside cabin space. I know Pont Aven has more lane metres than an E- Flexer, 3500 compared to 3100 but a good 3rd of this is height restricted.

9300 lane metres capable of loading HGV's is just what BF are looking for rather than the 6482 with restrictions available to them now not to mention the ongoing service CF will offer.

There's a metro station and a more suitable terminal building planned at Zierbena although i've never really seen pedestrian walkways around the port, the area doesn't cater for foot pax generally.

I know there's much said regarding the dreaded 'B' word but neither Spain nor the UK forecast any drop in capacity, rather the opposite in fact.

Rick, anything in the rumour that SF X could be replacing Stena Horizon when she's supplanted by E-F one?

 

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32 minutes ago, jonno said:

 

Rick, anything in the rumour that SF X could be replacing Stena Horizon when she's supplanted by E-F one?

 

First I have heard of that rumour and it will never happen.  Totally and utterly the wrong ship for that route.  I actually wouldn't rule out Stena Superfast X leaving the fleet once she is replaced by an E-Flexer (though remember even that isn't confirmed).

I expect the Stena Horizon to stay on the  the Rosslare - Cherbourg route for the foreseeable future.

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I thought the first two E-Flexers were taking the place of Stena Lagan and Stena Mersey on Belfast-Birkenhead.  E-flexer 3 was to be the BF ship.  Has there been a change of plan?  And anyway aren't we talking two or three years into the future not next week or next month even?

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