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Andy

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  1. Brittany Ferries and CMA CGM form a partnership in passenger and freight transport. https://brittanyferriesnewsroom.com/brittany-ferries-and-cma-cgm-form-a-partnership-in-passenger-and-freight-transport/
  2. A route to Portugal to take advantage of their green status appears to be on the cards: https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.business-live.co.uk/enterprise/brittany-ferries-mulls-sailings-portugal-20572719.amp
  3. This view is certainly being promoted in the media (and understandably so!): https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ferries-more-covid-safe-holidaymakers-24074770
  4. For those that have not already seen this press release (a late check of my inbox): Don’t fret and fly this summer, sail and stay instead Brittany Ferries is today urging holiday makers to consider a ferry relaxing vacation this summer. The company, which serves beautiful destinations in France and northern Spain, says international holidays by sea could be set for a big come-back. Air travel has taken centre stage, following government confirmation of the traffic light system for international travel. But there are other ways to enjoy a get-away – that’s not far away – without battling busy terminals and sitting cheek by jowl in cramped tubes. “We want to remind people that there are attractive alternatives to air travel this summer,” said Christophe Mathieu Brittany Ferries CEO. “Taking the ferry means there’s no need to mingle in a busy terminal building, or arrivals hall, alongside passengers from multiple destinations. Drive on-board in your own car, then head straight to a cabin which is fed by fresh sea air. Step outside on deck, visit a bar, restaurant or shop, and do so while social distancing in safety and comfort. This is the modern ferry experience and it’s why we urge everyone to consider a sail-and-stay holiday in 2021.” France and Spain are currently on the UK government’s amber list. However, Brittany Ferries hopes and expects these countries to turn green at the first review in three weeks’ time. That’s because infection rates are falling, while vaccination rates are rapidly rising in both countries. The green light from government should release an avalanche of latent demand for late June and the peak summer season. The company sails to destinations in so-called green Spain and north west France. These are not population centres, but rural regions characterised by sweeping beaches, snow-capped mountains (Picos de Europa for example) and ancient forests. They should appeal in particular to those with concerns about holidaying in big cities or busy resorts. Brittany Ferries has also confirmed that there will be no increase in prices this summer. The cost of a voyage in 2021 will be no different to last year, whatever changes government makes to the traffic light system. Furthermore, for peace of mind, the company also offers fully flexible tickets. This means, if the Covid situation changes, travel plans can be changed too – hassle-free. In the UK, Brittany Ferries sails from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth. It carries around 2.5 million passengers a year (pre-Covid average), 85 percent of whom are British.
  5. The official public announcement was only made today, but has been widely known and expected for some months now. Having operated from Poole in 2015 she's proven she's a good fit for the port - and has of course also visited St Malo before whilst marking the start of the Route du Rhum, so an excellent fit for Condor's network.
  6. It has been announced that the Normandie Express is to join Condor Ferries fleet as Condor Voyager, and that Condor Ferries will operate some high speed services to France on behalf of Brittany Ferries. https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2021/04/22/condor-could-use-high-speed-brittany-ferries-vessel-this-summer/
  7. Galicia participated in an emergency exercise today off Cherbourg with the French coastguard, simulating power loss and emergency towage.
  8. Hi Jonny, and welcome to the forum! Its most likely a result of passengers moving their bookings following the (limited) release of 2022 sailings earlier this week. I would take the opportunity to grab the cabin you’d like whilst you can, just in case...!
  9. A strongly worded article in Le Mode yesterday, expressing the challenges ahead for BF and the need for support. https://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2021/04/09/brittany-ferries-allons-nous-abandonner-derriere-nous-cette-institution-du-monde-maritime-francais-et-europeen_6076191_3232.html
  10. Now showing as renamed with Cypriot flag.
  11. Stena Line today announce the latest addition to their Baltic Sea fleet. The 186 metre long Visentini RoPax vessel Stena Livia will initially join sister vessel Stena Flavia on the Nynäshamn-Ventspils route from mid-April. Later this year the pair will replace the existing tonnage on the ferry route between Travemünde and Liepaja, adding 40 per cent freight capacity and shorten the crossing time substantially. Etretat is still berthed in Cherbourg, and yet to be renamed and flagged. https://news.cision.com/stena-line/r/stena-livia-joins-the-baltic-sea-fleet,c3321344
  12. The CGT union have reportedly reached an agreement with Brittany Ferries for there to be "No Dry Layoffs Over The Next Three Years". https://www.ouest-france.fr/bretagne/roscoff-29680/brittany-ferries-pas-de-licenciements-secs-ces-trois-prochaines-annees-selon-la-cgt-8b9f5574-96f5-11eb-8638-69c56106f3d4 BF are also seeking a cash injection of 50M euros, through a prospective partner alongside their majority shareholder, SICA. https://www.ouest-france.fr/economie/transports/transport-maritime/le-delicat-renflouement-de-brittany-ferries-161aa412-9258-11eb-8153-111acea7321d
  13. It's pretty rate for passengers to be able to physically walk on the bow on any ship these days. At least MSM has the external forward deck (when the doors are open!), and the Pont-Aven has the promenade deck and an outside deck which offer forward views.
  14. Don't forget the significance of the rail link project at Cherbourg. The e-flexers large capacity make them an ideal candidate to support the supply of unaccompanied freight to the UK.
  15. plus a weekend trip to Bilbao, before the Cotentin takes up the reigns to Santander (meaning Le Havre becomes a weekday service only).
  16. Just like the good old days, with the Val
  17. DFDS launches new unaccompanied freight service from Sheerness to Calais. The service will start on 1st June and will offer one daily sailing in each direction between the two ports. It will be operated by the Gothia Seaways, which can carry up to 165 unaccompanied freight units (trailers or containers without drivers). https://www.dfds.com/en/about/media/news/dfds-launches-new-freight-service-from-sheerness-to-calais?fbclid=IwAR27IaQjCkpFaRGDeTegUb1UNwsi-KRc3XEMcxnalxXnj2O38VyNj1Qa9Qs
  18. Almost missed this one, new routes are abound! https://www.instagram.com/p/CNHw77kLpYm/?igshid=35if7987ejbc
  19. A short video of her moving along the lift.
  20. Fantastic video of the Galicia dry docking in Astander:
  21. Lots of meme's certainly doing the rounds. Two of my favourites so far:
  22. An interesting interview with Jean-Marc Rouéon Breton TV this week: https://www.tvr.bzh/v/5d27935-business-club-23-03-2021 (I'll leave it to others who are more fluent in French than me to translate!)
  23. The RMT were quick to pick up on this: https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/rmt-statement-on-irish-ferries/
  24. Brittany Ferries plots recovery course, after worst year in decades Brittany Ferries has published some of the most disappointing figures in its history, following its AGM in St Pol de Leon, France today. In a year dominated by the Covid crisis and amid on-going Brexit concerns, 2020 passenger numbers fell to less than a third of normal levels. Freight fared slightly better, with figures down by 20 percent. Company turnover halved, as lockdown measures and restrictions on travel in all markets forced passengers to stay at home. Despite a dreadful 2020, the company is already plotting a course towards a brighter future. It has embarked on a robust five-year recovery plan to bridge the immediate crisis and prepare for a return to normal service. It has also commissioned independent analysis of the passenger market by London-based consultancy LEK. Their findings suggest that passenger volumes are expected to have recovered to 2019 levels by 2022. Freight volumes are also expected to improve. Thanks to its five-year recovery plan - and with ongoing support from banks and French government - Brittany Ferries says it can therefore look beyond the current storm with optimism. “In the last few years Brittany Ferries faced a double strike, firstly as a consequence of Brexit challenges and then as a result of Covid,” said Jean Marc Roué, company president. “On Brexit, the unfavourable Sterling-Euro exchange rate hit our bottom line. The value of Sterling plummeted directly after the 2016 vote and, since then, the company lost €115 million in potential income as the majority of revenue is generated in Sterling and costs come in Euros. Brexit concerns also affected demand. Three potential dates for the UK’s departure from the EU in 2019 created uncertainty and anxiety in the marketplace and passenger numbers fell by 5%. Despite these challenges, we remained profitable. However, last year, the Covid crisis brought our company to its knees. It struck a blow for the regions we serve and enrich, and the French seafarers we are proud to employ. Despite this, we are determined to remain part of the fabric of life in the north west of France as well as in the UK, Ireland and Spain and we must thank the regions of Normandy and Brittany, the banks and French state for their on-going support throughout this dark period. With a collective will to return stronger, I believe Brittany Ferries will overcome the greatest challenge in its history.” Passenger numbers: Last year, Brittany Ferries carried 752,102 passengers. That was less than a third of the total it would carry in a normal year. By comparison, in 2019 it carried 2,498,354 passengers across all routes. Around 85 percent of passengers are British. In 2019, the uncertainty of three potential Brexit deadlines created concern among passengers which hit demand for travel. Total passenger traffic fell by 5 percent in 2019 to 2,498,354. However, this dip was dwarfed by the 70% crash in passenger volumes last year, caused by government restrictions that prohibited international travel. Around 80 percent of company income is generated through passenger traffic: the effect that travel restrictions had on turnover was therefore devastating. In 2020 the company turned €202.4 million, compared with €469m in 2019, a 57% decline. Freight figures: Brittany Ferries largely returned to its roots as a freight-only operation towards the end of last year. in total it carried 160,377 units in 2020, down around 20 percent on the previous year’s tally of 201,554. Market distortions were caused by stockpiling at the end of the Brexit transition period and amid concerns about new border controls and import/export processes. The Covid crisis also impacted freight volumes, albeit not as significantly as it did for passenger traffic. Highlights in 2020: In an otherwise miserable year, there were some notable highlights for Brittany Ferries. It won the third in a series of Brexit-related ferry contracts with the UK government (Department for Transport, DfT). This guaranteed DfT space aboard vessels to ensure the supply of essential goods like medicines in the event of potential chaos at short-sea ports on the Channel. As well as supporting routes like Le Havre to Portsmouth, these contracts reinforced the strategic significance of Brittany Ferries’ route network to national governments, as well as to local regions. Thanks to the flexibility of its fleet the company was also able to meet demand from Irish and French hauliers to open direct routes connecting Ireland with France, thus avoiding the need to transport goods via the UK land-bridge. The “ferroutage” multimodal project also progressed, reflecting a wider trend in the ferry sector to link ferry services with European rail routes. Work began on the SNCF rail network which will allow freight to be carried by train between Bayonne and Cherbourg. Freighter MV Cotentin made a welcome return to the fleet, in preparation for the project launch in 2022. She adds capacity to the route network and started operations by supporting DfT contracts in early 2021. In December 2020, the company welcomed its new ship Galicia to the fleet. This greener super-ferry, part of investment made before the Covid crisis struck, operates two weekly rotations between the UK and Spain and one from Cherbourg to Portsmouth. Like the ferroutage project, Galicia’s launch illustrates the company’s commitment to more environmentally friendly modes of transport and a drive towards energy transition. Recovery plan: Energy transition is one of the four pillars of an internal recovery plan that will deliver Brittany Ferries from the current crisis. The five-year plan spans the period in which the company is expected to pay back loans that have helped carry it through the bleakest summer and winter in decades. Greener vessels are essential for the company’s future, both from the perspective of anticipated regulatory requirements and the expectations of its customers. Two further E-Flexer class vessels will join sister-ship Galicia in 2022 and 2023. Salamanca and Santoña will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and the infrastructure to support LNG bunkering will begin construction in Bilbao this year in preparation for their arrival. As well as energy transition, Brittany Ferries had reaffirmed its commitment to the French flag and French seafarers. It salutes all its employees for their support, understanding and hard work during an unprecedented period of disruption - and has called for all French seafarers to be recognised as essential workers. The third pillar of Brittany Ferries’ recovery plan is the support it receives from farming cooperatives and its shareholders. The commitment and determination of Brittany Ferries’ founders, and the French farmers who continues to support it today, is reflected in a will to continue the journey taken by the company since 1972. Enriching regions, linking people and facilitating trade between nations is in the company’s DNA. The final pillar of the plan re-states the imperative of profitability. This is essential if recovery is to be sustained. The pillar goes hand-in-hand with on-going support from the regions, banks and government for which the company is grateful. Difficult decisions to limit costs have already been taken, for example delaying the opening of routes the company had planned to re-start in March 2021. However, the goal is always the long-term viability of Brittany Ferries and there is good news on the road ahead. Independent analysis has confirmed that, following short term shock, passenger demand is likely to return quickly to support a strong and sustained recovery. Independent analysis As part of recovery planning Brittany Ferries commissioned an independent review of the passenger market by London-based consultancy LEK. In a wide-ranging study, they looked at external evidence such as projections for the UK economic recovery and internal factos such as customer profiles. Its conclusions were encouraging both in relation to challenges posed by both Covid and by Brexit. A rapid and full recovery in passenger volumes is forecast within the next few years. On Covid, LEK predict a return to 2019 volumes by 2022: “The relative stability of Brittany Ferries’ passenger volumes over the last 12 years demonstrates resilience. It has an advantaged catchment area with customers who show high loyalty and repeat rates; 70% of bookings come from repeat clients, 27% from those who made more than nine reservations in the last three years.” On Brexit, LEK suggest that concerns should be short-lived, noting that changes to the pet travel scheme are the only significant change for passengers. Pet travel accounts for around 6% of the company’s business. However, even this year, all pet-friendly cabins have already been booked for summer 2021 on UK-Spain routes. “While some consumers are currently concerned about Brexit’s impact on travel, these concerns should reduce as they become aware that actual restrictions are likely to have limited impact in practice,” LEK concluded. Commenting on the year ahead and the conclusions of the LEK study, Brittany Ferries’ chief executive officer Christophe Mathieu added, “There is no doubt 2021 will be another tough year for our company. However, we will continue on the path to recovery, taking tough decisions if necessary but encouraged by the findings of this independent report which show the market is ready to bounce back. We will always place the long-term interest of Brittany Ferries at heart and as long as we continue to be supported by our staff, shareholders, the banks, as well as by regional and national governments, I believe we can navigate a path through the storm. The future for Brittany Ferries can be as bright as the rich history which precedes it.” Key figures: • Turnover: €202.4 million (compared with €469m in 2019) • Investment in three new ships, Galicia plus two new vessels powered by cleaner LNG (liquefied natural gas) arriving in 2022 and 2023 • Employment: 2,474 seafarers and shore staff (average high/low season) • Passengers: 752,102 in 2020 (compared with 2,498,354 in 2019) • Freight: 160,377 in 2020 (compared with 201,554 in 2019) • Twelve ships operating services that connect France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain (non-Covid year) across 14 routes • Twelve ports in total: Bilbao, Santander, Portsmouth, Poole, Plymouth, Cork, Rosslare, Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Saint-Malo, Roscoff • Tourism in Europe: 231,000 unique visitors, staying 2.6 million bed-nights in France in 2020 (compared with 857,000
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