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St Nazaire to Gijon

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14 hours ago, Hawser Trunnion said:

I think one should distinguish between pax and vehicle ferries and the carriage of goods by sea in the roro mode.  The two aren't necessarily the same, I would venture to suggest, although they may have a lot in common.  Could it be that it's the pax and vehicle element that causes the bulk of the losses and it will be that which will be the big problem on Gijon-Montoir.  It would seem Balearia are intending to establish a car and pax ferry service on this route.

BF don't distinguish, all of their ships which sail to Spain & France offer an unaccompanied service, Portsmouth is no stranger to stevedores shunting trailers on and off the car decks and apart from the Pont and Bretagne they are all RoRo ships first and foremost. 

When you mention parallel subsidies I don't quite get what you mean? No other shipping line serves Montoir from Gijon, the Suardiaz sailings from Vigo are specialised vehicle carriers rather than the carriage of everyday consumables plus all of the northern coastal ports will be swiftly & directly accessible to Spanish holidaymakers rather than having the faff of changing to slow narrow gauge trains. 

For the French that romantic weekend in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia or Seville will become a feasible option. A fast sailing on a brand new comfortable ship followed by a modern rapid transit AVE train.

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31 minutes ago, wortley said:

"For that romantic weekend.....". They will fly there.

The airport/plane experience might take all the romance out of the weekend. Try snuggling up to someone on a plane now and your photo will be on the front page of tomorrow's Daily Mail. Ed 

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When I referred to "parallel" subsidies I was essentially quoting "Shippaxinfo" so I suppose we ought to ask them what they meant by it.  Presumably it's come from one of their Spanish correspondents.  I take it to mean that it would be illogical for a supranational authority like the EU to contribute financially to two business enterprises who could be seen to be competing or at least whose business activities overlapped.

Of course the carpax ferries operated by BF and any other ferry company will take drop trailers (or semi-trailers as the Police call them) according to the availability of space but an out-and-out single screw deepsea freighter in the ro-ro mode like MN Pelican and many others like her won't be conveying cars and caravans and campervans and those travelling with them in any number, if at all.  In the case of the Pelican she is quite unsuitable as a carpax ferry in any event having no pax cert. and accommodation for just eight pax in three cabins, four fewer than the max. of twelve she would be allowed to take by international regulations.  Of course BF are very well aware of this and use her as the roro freighter she was designed to be.  At the risk of going a bit off topic I would suggest replacing the Pelican with Etretat in 2019 (as has been proposed elsewhere in these Forums) or any other ship with a pax cert. could change the nature of the service between Poole and Bilbao and BF may not want this.

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2 hours ago, jonno said:

For the French that romantic weekend in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia or Seville will become a feasible option. A fast sailing on a brand new comfortable ship followed by a modern rapid transit AVE train.

For some French (and other nationals living in France) ... I can think of no reason why I'd drive from Toulouse (or many other places in the south or east of France) all the way to Montoir to catch a ferry which is going to leave me with two days' drive to Valencia (834km from Gijón, 8.5 hours' drive)or to Seville (800km, 8 hours' drive). Having been to both, I drove to Valencia directly for a short break, and I took a cheap but rapid flight from Toulouse to Seville for a five-night stay.

That said, BF markets trips to Iberia quite heavily in France, especially those including accommodation. So there must be a decent market. And I might go that way (Montoir-Gijón) if I were going to Portugal - but even so, driving direct would probably be cheaper.

As for cuddling on an aircraft, I haven't yet come across appropriate seating! But surely the cuddles come afterwards? And if you take a plane, you're not exhausted from the long drive ...

I must find out about these fast new trains, though. Do they carry cars, then?

Edited by Jardinier
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On 29/08/2017 at 11:43, jonno said:

Baleria are the preferred carrier for the new 2 year MoS subsidy, they have also stated that one of the new build LNG powered Visentini's will also be used. Jose Llorca president of Puerto Estado, Fernando Lastra Director of Infrastructures & Carmen Moriyón, Gijon's Mayor have confirmed this. It will be ratified in September & co signed by Laureano Lourido the head of Gijon's port authority.

This is what Llorca said:

 "It can be viable from a different point of view to those of Vigo and Santander because it is a complementary and non-substitute line of the road: it is accompanied by transport, the transporters get into the boat, and it is compatible with traffics associated with tourism It is also the only one that can be considered as a true motorway of the sea, because it meets the frequencies necessary for a single ship.

 

 

On 29/08/2017 at 12:22, Hawser Trunnion said:

They hope!  Is this going to be a triumph of Hope over Experience? LD did acknowledge they couldn't run their Gijon-Montoir service without a subsidy to cover the losses  it would make.  Hence expanding into other routes I've always assumed, viz. Gijon/Santander-Poole and Montoir-Rosslare which would make money eventually to make up for the losses incurred on Gijon-Montoir.

I note the subsidy is for just two years.  This isn't very long and what happens after that?  I suppose they've thought about this but then maybe Balearia have other, thus far, undisclosed plans.

I thought the subsidy in fact was coming from Spanish governmental sources, state, region and city, and was not an EU initiative under their Motorway of the Sea scheme.  The view has been forward that it would be illogical for the EU to subsidise two, parallel, services though the Spanish evidently see a difference.

This is all very bizarre.  As I said above, Suardiaz are already getting a subsidy for a service which will compete with this.  From memory they got EUR12m from the Spanish and the same from the French, all over 7 years from 2015 plus €3m MoS subsidy.  Has there been some hitch in the Suardiaz arrangement?  It does seem strange that two competing services would be subsidised with public cash, particularly as one is being subsidised to the tune of €27m already.  There does appear to be an element of wishful thinking (desperation?) here - are Spanish (and European) tax payers expected to subsidise two private operators to operate ferry services at a loss because Gijon decided to build a new port?  Theres only so much traffic to go around after all!  If Suardiaz need a subsidy to guarantee their service then how can subsidising a competitor be justified?  Or is it a case of the EU subsidy moving to another operator making an existing operation less viable (as it did in the case of LD)?  Surely that goes against the whole purpose of the Marco Polo project?  

As Hawser says, what happens after the 2 years?  Balearia are in the business of making money, thats how they can afford to order Visentini ferries at €100m a pop on top of the vessel from LaNaval.  Very few new routes pay their way within 2 years, never mind ones which need a subsidy to get off the ground.

You are spot on about LD and the other routes HT so far as my knowledge goes.  By operating the other routes the vessel was better utilised and could also feed traffic into the subsidised route, in a way making Montoir a sort of hub.  By the sounds of things if this comes off Balearia won't have that luxury, unless they have plans for more services to link in.

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9 hours ago, jonno said:

BF don't distinguish, all of their ships which sail to Spain & France offer an unaccompanied service, Portsmouth is no stranger to stevedores shunting trailers on and off the car decks and apart from the Pont and Bretagne they are all RoRo ships first and foremost. 

When you mention parallel subsidies I don't quite get what you mean? No other shipping line serves Montoir from Gijon, the Suardiaz sailings from Vigo are specialised vehicle carriers rather than the carriage of everyday consumables plus all of the northern coastal ports will be swiftly & directly accessible to Spanish holidaymakers rather than having the faff of changing to slow narrow gauge trains. 

For the French that romantic weekend in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia or Seville will become a feasible option. A fast sailing on a brand new comfortable ship followed by a modern rapid transit AVE train.

Suardiaz carry freight as well as cars and the GEFCO trailers.  This was part of the reasoning for introducing the second ship, and getting the increased MoS subsidy (at LD lines expense).

As for romantic weekend and a fast sailing, the LNG Visentini's have the same sailing speed as the current generation - 24kts.  If we take the LD crossing time of 14 hours and very optimistically say a new service did it in 10 thats still 10 hours on a Visentini (each way)!  10 hours with a restaurant and a bar and not much else.  I wouldn't care how rapid the train is, i'll fly from where I am to where I want to go in a few hours (and thats before considering the need to get to Montoir in the first place and wait to board) and save the romance for the hotel rather than pitching and rolling in a Visentini cabin!

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Personally I would take a punt on Balearia's aim being to revive LD's Biscay routes.  I only hope PHC are doing the necessary on behalf of Poole.  It would a great opportunity to show the worth of the £10 million South Quay project which does make things rather different from LD days, notably regarding lay-by berths.  I would be less confident of success if Balearia were to choose to go into Portsmouth.  BF are far too well established there.

A further thought!  Was LD's assertion that they couldn't operate Gijon-Montoir without a subsidy actually correct?  Maybe like the service to Poole they weren't really trying, apparently!  I think I've mentioned I've seen reports that there have been those in Spain who thought LD were in it for the subsidy and on closing down they ought to repay some or all of it!

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Why does an intention to revive the MoS route (assuming for a moment that is true) necessarily involve inclusion of LD's other routes as well?  Don't follow the logic there.  LD started by reviving Portsmouth-Le Havre but they didn't feel the need to include the rest of the former Townsend Thoresen network!  I do think that the Irish route may have possibly served a gap in the market (there is no other Eire to West coast of France route, and we've often talked about the need for Eire to Spain).  But it seems to me that UK South coast to Spain is already well covered.  Still don't get why there is still all this talk of Poole in a thread that is supposed to be about Gijon - Nantes.

Edited by Gareth
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5 hours ago, Gareth said:

Why does an intention to revive the MoS route (assuming for a moment that is true) necessarily involve inclusion of LD's other routes as well?  Don't follow the logic there.  LD started by reviving Portsmouth-Le Havre but they didn't feel the need to include the rest of the former Townsend Thoresen network!  I do think that the Irish route may have possibly served a gap in the market (there is no other Eire to West coast of France route, and we've often talked about the need for Eire to Spain).  But it seems to me that UK South coast to Spain is already well covered.  Still don't get why there is still all this talk of Poole in a thread that is supposed to be about Gijon - Nantes.

Because it's BUSINESS and Gijon-Montoir could prove to be the thin edge of the wedge.  Just because England-Spain is claimed to be "well covered" is no bar to someone else having a go.  This is after all supposed to be free enterprise and a free market economy and anyway the Spanish could say "maybe it is well covered -- but not by us!  We're entitled to a share of the market as well and who's said all ferry services between the English south coast and northern Spain should be in the hands of an uncompromisingly French operator like BF?"

It should be remembered the ferry that operated the Gijon-Montoir link for LD also performed the weekly Montoir-Rosslare rotation and the Gijon/Santander-Poole ship also helped out on the Montoir service with a weekly rotation between Poole sailings.  Maybe the Spanish generally and Balearia in particular think this arrangement had a lot going for it and well worth reviving.  Of course Balearia may have their own ideas.  How about a weekly Poole-Cherbourg rotation between Spanish sailings?  And it might not be PHC who put Balearia up to this.  I've always understood the Port of Cherbourg has never been satisfied with BF's policy re their port.  Just because Cherbourg and Ouistreham/Caen come under the same authority doesn't mean they are one and the same entity and I think you'll find both are expected to have their own separate business policies.

Thus any revival of Gijon-Montoir could ramify way beyond these two ports and could prove to be quite serious for BF.

 

Edited by Hawser Trunnion

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I just find your logic perverse HT - it is just wishful thinking.  You read that Gijjon - Montoir may be revived and you instantly presume that this must include Poole as well, for no reason other than because that's what LD did.  Or just because that's what you want to happen.  Have you read anything anywhere that what you are fantasising about (re wider implications than Montoir) is actually on the cards?

Yes, it's business.  If Poole - Gijon is a potentially profitable route then the case for re-opening it has nothing at all to do with whether there is a ship sailing to Montoir.  If there is a case for it, there is a case for it, and a route opening up to Montoir makes no difference whatsoever to that case.

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I thought there were indications that a revival of Gijon-Montoir was in the offing posted earlier in this thread.  Maybe it will, maybe it won't.  But I thought it was suggested an announcement would be made next month.  It would appear this may be connected to a meeting of involved parties.  Maybe we should now leave it there and wait for some definite news.

Maybe interested enthusiasts should re-read the thread from the top to see how the argument has developed and get some idea as to what has led me personally to my current approach to the topic.

 

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This thread is now going around in circles... I can't see the point in posting factual links to much of the information if they're clearly not going to be read.

 

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HT - you need to re-read my query too.  I get totally why we are talking about Gijon - Montoir and what the basis is for speculating about that.  I just don't get why you  keep trying to bring Poole into the discussion as that seems to have no basis in evidence and no relevance to the sorce material that has been posted by you or Jonno.

 

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On 29/08/2017 at 11:43, jonno said:

Baleria are the preferred carrier for the new 2 year MoS subsidy, they have also stated that one of the new build LNG powered Visentini's will also be used. Jose Llorca president of Puerto Estado, Fernando Lastra Director of Infrastructures & Carmen Moriyón, Gijon's Mayor have confirmed this. It will be ratified in September & co signed by Laureano Lourido the head of Gijon's port authority.

This is what Llorca said:

 "It can be viable from a different point of view to those of Vigo and Santander because it is a complementary and non-substitute line of the road: it is accompanied by transport, the transporters get into the boat, and it is compatible with traffics associated with tourism It is also the only one that can be considered as a true motorway of the sea, because it meets the frequencies necessary for a single ship.

 

I did read this actually, and its import clearly is that Balearia's Gijon-Montoir service is most definitely on -- and it will be using one of the LNG Visentinis currently building in Italy.  But Balearia have two on order and their financial support from the Spanish authorities is just for two years to cover start-up costs.  So what happens after the two years is up and what happens to this other Visentini?  Sure Balearia could use her on their Mediterranean routes but as she is SECA friendly why not use her on a service into a SECA, e.g. the English Channel?  Then there is Balearia's policy of "internationalisation" and maybe to expand operations to the north of Spain to compensate for the losses Gijon-Montoir may pick up, though obviously the hope is they will be able to run the service profitably eventually.

I do agree this thread is beginning to go round in circles and perhaps we should now wait for an announcement of definite plans from Balearia.  I would hope any link to these would be posted in these Forums.  

I do detect a certain antipathy towards Poole in some quarters.  I'm sorry about that but Poole is part of the ferry scene and while not as pro-active as some other places is nevertheless keen to take a full part in developments, I believe.

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No antipathy from me - I think Poole is a lovely place.  Just don't see what it's got to do with this thread.  I mean, I could start going on about Lisbon and how nice a place that is and how P&O used to sail to both Spain and Lisbon so perhaps there should also be a Montoir to Lisbon route.  But there would be equally no point in that either, because that's not what the thread or the proposal being discussed in it is about.

But anyway, I take both of your points about the thread going round in circles so I'll back out of it until there is anything new by way of developments. ;)

 

 

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1 hour ago, Hawser Trunnion said:

I did read this actually, and its import clearly is that Balearia's Gijon-Montoir service is most definitely on -- and it will be using one of the LNG Visentinis currently building in Italy.  But Balearia have two on order and their financial support from the Spanish authorities is just for two years to cover start-up costs.  So what happens after the two years is up and what happens to this other Visentini?  Sure Balearia could use her on their Mediterranean routes but as she is SECA friendly why not use her on a service into a SECA, e.g. the English Channel?  Then there is Balearia's policy of "internationalisation" and maybe to expand operations to the north of Spain to compensate for the losses Gijon-Montoir may pick up, though obviously the hope is they will be able to run the service profitably eventually.

I do agree this thread is beginning to go round in circles and perhaps we should now wait for an announcement of definite plans from Balearia.  I would hope any link to these would be posted in these Forums.  

I do detect a certain antipathy towards Poole in some quarters.  I'm sorry about that but Poole is part of the ferry scene and while not as pro-active as some other places is nevertheless keen to take a full part in developments, I believe.

HT I understand that due to the harbour expansion at Poole further ferry movements are easily possible although to believe another carrier whether it be Balearia or Stena etc would be looking to offer a service are a non starter as they'd want a large subsidy to start up to cover initial losses. Neither the Spanish government nor the EU will have such an appetite when the more realistic option would be for BF to expand further at the port as there is already a viable argument for them to do so.

 

 

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2 hours ago, jonno said:

HT I understand that due to the harbour expansion at Poole further ferry movements are easily possible although to believe another carrier whether it be Balearia or Stena etc would be looking to offer a service are a non starter as they'd want a large subsidy to start up to cover initial losses. Neither the Spanish government nor the EU will have such an appetite when the more realistic option would be for BF to expand further at the port as there is already a viable argument for them to do so.

 

 

Why would they expect a large subsidy?  I don't believe LD Lines were in receipt of subsidies for their Gijon/Santander-Poole service or for Montoir-Rosslare. If they were I never heard it mentioned.  Maybe something could have been arranged re berthing fees at Poole but PHC claim their port is a cheap one to use anyway.

To be quite honest at the risk of going off topic I don't believe BF have any interest in expanding at Poole in any direction and MN Pelican is only there because of the restricted trailer parking at the PIP.  In my view PHC would be better off, should Balearia have any ideas of expanding their Gijon-Montoir service, encouraging them to emulate LD and develop in the way they did and promoting Poole as a port they might consider. Hence the mention of Poole in the context of Gijon-Montoir.  It hardly needs repeating that the financial assistance Balearia are to receive is for just two years so they are under some constraint to get their Biscay operations onto a sound financial footing for when they are on their own.

Hopefully links will be posted on this thread when Balearia announce start date, timetable, fares etc.  We don't yet know the name of the ship.  It will be interesting to see what it is.

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16 hours ago, Hawser Trunnion said:

Why would they expect a large subsidy?  I don't believe LD Lines were in receipt of subsidies for their Gijon/Santander-Poole service or for Montoir-Rosslare. If they were I never heard it mentioned.  Maybe something could have been arranged re berthing fees at Poole but PHC claim their port is a cheap one to use anyway.

To be quite honest at the risk of going off topic I don't believe BF have any interest in expanding at Poole in any direction and MN Pelican is only there because of the restricted trailer parking at the PIP.  In my view PHC would be better off, should Balearia have any ideas of expanding their Gijon-Montoir service, encouraging them to emulate LD and develop in the way they did and promoting Poole as a port they might consider. Hence the mention of Poole in the context of Gijon-Montoir.  It hardly needs repeating that the financial assistance Balearia are to receive is for just two years so they are under some constraint to get their Biscay operations onto a sound financial footing for when they are on their own.

Hopefully links will be posted on this thread when Balearia announce start date, timetable, fares etc.  We don't yet know the name of the ship.  It will be interesting to see what it is.

Why would they need a subsidy?

Because BF do even for a freight only service.

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1 hour ago, jonno said:

Why would they need a subsidy?

Because BF do even for a freight only service.

This is news to me!  Who pays it, I.e.what is the source of the subsidy money?  Is it time limited?  I thought the EU had strict rules about state aid etc, so how does this subsidy not contravene them?  I take it we're talking about BF's trailer service from Poole with MN Pelican.  Obviously if it is being subsidised and if that subsidy or financial assistance is time limited it will affect the future of the service but here I'm going off topic.  There is another thread about the Pelican.

My impression is that the "subsidy" that is to be paid to Balearia to restart the Gijon-Montoir service has been carefully devised so as to avoid contravening EU rules.  In fact it seems to me to be more like a two year grant rather than a continuing subsidy.  Also it has nothing to do with the EU's Motorway of the Seas initiative which may have applied to LD Lines' original venture -- or at least this is my impression.  I don't know if that was time limited.  However there were doubts about the whole thing from the start.

The actual name of the operator was GLD Atlantique, GLD meaning "Grimaldi Louis Dreyfus" , Louis Dreyfus Armateurs had originally gone into direct involvement in shipping operations under their own name in partnership with the Grimaldi group.  But the head of Grimaldi at the time, Aldo Grimaldi I believe, was quoted as saying that while the head of LDA at the time, Philippe Louis Dreyfus, was a friend of his he didn't see anything commercially in Gijon-Montoir and declined to get involved.  This was so even though the name of the entity that ran it included his initial and was being subsidised.  Was Signior Grimaldi wrong?  Doubtless Balearia are hoping he was!  It must be the case that those behind this latest venture think it can eventually break even.  Hopefully it could even make money.

But LD did expand with non-subsidised services.  It remains to be seen if Balearia will do the same.

 

Edited by Hawser Trunnion

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35 minutes ago, Hawser Trunnion said:

This is news to me!  Who pays it, I.e.what is the source of the subsidy money?  Is it time limited?  I thought the EU had strict rules about state aid etc, so how does this subsidy not contravene them?  I take it we're talking about BF's trailer service from Poole with MN Pelican.  Obviously if it is being subsidised and if that subsidy or financial assistance is time limited it will affect the future of the service but here I'm going off topic.  There is another thread about the Pelican.

My impression is that the "subsidy" that is to be paid to Balearia to restart the Gijon-Montoir service has been carefully devised so as to avoid contravening EU rules.  In fact it seems to me to be more like a two year grant rather than a continuing subsidy.  Also it has nothing to do with the EU's Motorway of the Seas initiative which may have applied to LD Lines' original venture -- or at least this is my impression.  I don't know if that was time limited.  However there were doubts about the whole thing from the start.

The actual name of the operator was GLD Atlantique, GLD meaning "Grimaldi Louis Dreyfus" , Louis Dreyfus Armateurs had originally gone into direct involvement in shipping operations under their own name in partnership with the Grimaldi group.  But the head of Grimaldi at the time, Aldo Grimaldi I believe, was quoted as saying that while the head of LDA at the time, Philippe Louis Dreyfus, was a friend of his he didn't see anything commercially in Gijon-Montoir and declined to get involved.  This was so even though the name of the entity that ran it included his initial and was being subsidised.  Was Signior Grimaldi wrong?  Doubtless Balearia are hoping he was!  It must be the case that those behind this latest venture think it can eventually break even.  Hopefully it could even make money.

But LD did expand with non-subsidised services.  It remains to be seen if Balearia will do the same.

 

As i've said, why should I bother posting factual links when they're not even read, if they had been this would have been surely noted...

"The GULFSTREAM proposal, as a new ro-ro service with one round trip every weekend between Santander and Poole, received funding of 870,877€. Furthermore, a special feature of this proposal is a freight-only service, which means that trucks and unaccompanied trailers do not have to compete for space with tourist vehicles during the holiday season."

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8 minutes ago, jonno said:

As i've said, why should I bother posting factual links when they're not even read, if they had been this would have been surely noted...

"The GULFSTREAM proposal, as a new ro-ro service with one round trip every weekend between Santander and Poole, received funding of 870,877€. Furthermore, a special feature of this proposal is a freight-only service, which means that trucks and unaccompanied trailers do not have to compete for space with tourist vehicles during the holiday season."

It would have been helpful if you had given the date of this quote and I note also it doesn't mention BF.  I take it it refers to them or is it always assumed anything to do with Poole must mean BF.  It sounds to me as this is referring to Cotentin which started out doing the one rotation to Santander at weekends I think it was which then developed into a Spanish service before it disappeared entirely when Cotentin was chartered to Stena.  She never operated as a carferry for BF.  The only Poole-Santander carferry service that I can remember BF operating was with Barfleur twenty years ago.  The principal Poole-Spain service of recent times was LD's with Norman Asturias which wasn't subsidised or in receipt of any kind of financial assistance.  The Pelican appeared at Poole some years after Cotentin had gone. Does this what appears to be a one-off payment include her?

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3 hours ago, Hawser Trunnion said:

It would have been helpful if you had given the date of this quote and I note also it doesn't mention BF.  I take it it refers to them or is it always assumed anything to do with Poole must mean BF.  It sounds to me as this is referring to Cotentin which started out doing the one rotation to Santander at weekends I think it was which then developed into a Spanish service before it disappeared entirely when Cotentin was chartered to Stena.  She never operated as a carferry for BF.  The only Poole-Santander carferry service that I can remember BF operating was with Barfleur twenty years ago.  The principal Poole-Spain service of recent times was LD's with Norman Asturias which wasn't subsidised or in receipt of any kind of financial assistance.  The Pelican appeared at Poole some years after Cotentin had gone. Does this what appears to be a one-off payment include her?

Put it all there on the 9th August but so one doesn't need to trawl back for the link, her it is in full and verbatim.

First Marco Polo project: GULFSTREAM (2008-2011) The 2007 call for proposals funding under the European Union's Marco Polo programme included the Modal Shift Actions, that is, projects focused on shifting as much freight as economically meaningful under current market conditions from road to short sea shipping. The EU supported the development of Motorways of the Sea services between the UK and the Iberian Peninsula by Brittany Ferries through the program’s first project Gulfstream. Apart from the pre-existing RoPax “Cruise Ferry” service (M/S Pont-Aven), Brittany Ferries incorporated a new RoPax ship (M/S Cotentin) exclusively dedicated to freight. With this, the number of return crossings was three per week: two with the M/S Pont-Aven operating between Plymouth (UK) or Portsmouth (UK) and Santander (Spain), and one with the M/S Cotentin, operating between Poole (UK) and Santander (Spain). The GULFSTREAM proposal, as a new ro-ro service with one round trip every weekend between Santander and Poole, received funding of 870,877€. Furthermore, a special feature of this proposal is a freight-only service, which means that trucks and unaccompanied trailers do not have to compete for space with tourist vehicles during the holiday season. The duration of the project grant was 36 months, from March 2008 to March 2011. The project leader, Brittany Ferries (France), was accompanied by the Port of Santander, Port of Poole, B.A.I. (UK) and Brittany Ferries España, S.L. (Spain).

) The 2010 call for proposals funding under the European Union programme Marco Polo II included actions to improve the environmental performance of the freight transport system. Within this framework, the GULFSTREAM.MOS received a grant of 5.5 million euros. The partners involved in the second Marco Polo project were: BAI SA, trading as Brittany Ferries established in France and operating passenger and pure freight Roll-on Roll-off vessels; its 100% owned subsidiaries, Brittany Ferries España SL established in Santander (Spain) and BAI Limited (UK); the port authorities of Santander in Spain and the port authorities of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom. However, ports were only non beneficiaries partners. The action started in April 2011, with the M/S Cap Finistère connecting the south of England and the north of Spain with a frequency of three return crossings per week. It was set to last 48 months, finishing in March 2015. Given the frequency of the new service, the traffic and the modal shift expected, the project falls into the Motorway of the Sea category of the 2010 Marco Polo call. The geographical proximity between the ports of the first action (call 2007) and those of the most recent action has led the Executive Agency of the European Commission for Competitiveness and Innovation to contemplate this project as contributing towards a significant increase in activity as well as an upgrade to the previous project, rather than a project for the creation of new routes. The Executive Agency of the EC has set a threshold of activity ("Base Line") from which the additional traffic generated by the M/S Cap Finistère can be accounted for in terms of the ton.kilometres which are eligible for grants.

Other European grants for the development of Motorway of the Sea Additionally, Brittany Ferries received European funding for the development of the Motorway of the Sea from the Trans-European Network Programme 2007-2013 (1st project Seagas in 2012 and 2nd project Channel LNG in 2013 to support the energy transition plan) and from the Connecting Europe Facility (Equipment for Exhaust Gas and wash water cleaning Systems on several RoPax in 2014).

5. GULFSTREAM.MOS DEMAND The market share of RoRo Brittany Ferries services versus the overall lorry traffic between the United Kingdom and the Iberian Peninsula has increased from less than 2% in early 2000s to 14% in 2012. It was expected that the demand for the service from 2011 to 2015 could involve the transport of 62,000 freight vehicles, representing a saving of 1.9 billion road tkm and 52 million euros of external costs. The number of departures and the linear capacity of the Motorway of the Sea have evolved in the following way:  2004: 2 return crossings per week and 6,000 linear metres of cargo  2007: 3 return crossings per week and 10,000 linear metres of cargo  2010: 5 return crossings per week and 18,000 linear metres of cargo  2013-2015: 7 return crossings per week and 27,000 linear metres of cargo Then, from 2004 to 2015 the linear capacities have been multiplied by 4, while the number of lorries per departure and the traffic have been multiplied by 6.

The initial business plan anticipated that the new service would become profitable after the fourth year of operation. However, the financial sustainability largely depends on the pound/euro parity and the cost of fuel. The two parameters only evolved favourably since the end of 2014. Moreover, the investment required for fitting scrubbers on the Cap Finistère has had an impact on the line’s profitability. The losses accumulated over the first four years of operation of the line will not be compensated by the payment of the grant and without the grants the operator would have had to increase its prices. Communication to the freight customers on this issue has proved rather difficult. From the beginning of the two Gulfstream projects, Brittany Ferries’ objective was to secure the development of alternative routes in the long-run. Marketing and communication actions were carried out by the company´s commercial teams established in the UK, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and France, and these new routes are currently ongoing. Moreover, the Motorways of the Sea have proven to be quite reliable given that less than two percent of crossings only were cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.

There are some critical factors and market forces that condition the continuity of the MoS when the project funding comes to an end: cost and quality of the Eurotunnel services (with a lot of delays and cancellations in 2015), carry freight growth rate, service level or environmental regulations and fuel prices (LNG vs. marine diesel), among others. Today, Brittany Ferries offers three sailings weekly between Bilbao and Portsmouth and is the only operator to offer long crossings from the UK to northern Spain. With the departure of Transfennica a new scenario has presented itself to the current operator of the MoS, with positive elements such as the possibility of increasing flows due to the concentration effect and a horizon underpinned by an incipient economic recovery. According to company news, freight activity to and from the United Kingdom is undergoing a period of strong growth, particularly the unaccompanied market. The services to Santander and Bilbao have been growing faster than crossings to France, particularly for lorries carrying fresh fruit and vegetables. So, a new pure RoRo vessel service to carry freight between Bilbao and Poole 17 was announced in January 2016 to enter in service in February 2016. This new service will help Brittany meet growing demand from freight customers and free up more garage space on other ships. Brittany Ferries has an important advantage in the form of the adaptation of its vessels to navigation in the SECA zone (the European SECA covers the English Channel, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea). One of the largest gas-powered ships in the world is set to operate in waters between Portsmouth and Bilbao. It will be the largest, cleanest and most environmentally-friendly ship used on the routes between UK and Spain. Compressed natural gas emits 25% less carbon dioxide (CO2) than marine fuel oil and burns with no smoke. Brittany Ferries and STX France (a French shipbuilder) have been co-operating on a study regarding the feasibility of powering a cruise-ferry by liquefied natural gas (LNG). As well as emitting less CO2, compressed natural gas is also free of sulphur and is very low in nitrogen oxide emissions. LNG is also cheaper than marine diesel and it does not cost more than heavy fuel oil. Thus, Gulfstream.MOS contributes to a more sustainable transport between UK and Spain reducing road traffic and also by reducing the ecological footprint of short sea shipping. The high frequency service and port options in UK (Portsmouth, Plymouth and Poole) and Spain (Santander, Bilbao) also contribute to facilitate robust supply chains and integrated transport solutions, attracting more freight traffic across all routes.

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Thanks for this.  I won't quote it because of its length.  Sorry this is in italic. Device playing up.  It isn't surprising it may not have been widely read as it is somewhat turgid.  However it does give important background info re BF's operations including ship deployments.

It does suggest to me that this move by Balearia is intended as a challenge to BF's pre-eminence in the Bay of Biscay and they may indeed seek to revive all of LD's routes.  While they may get money from Govt for employing LNG ships it also allows them to sail into a SECA zone such as the English Channel.  We'll just have to wait and see!

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Thant's for this.  I won't quote it because of its length.  Sorry this is in italic. Device playing up.  It isn't surprising it may not have been widely read as it is somewhat turgid.  However it does give important background info re BF's operations including ship deployments.

It does suggest to me that this move by Balearia is intended as a challenge to BF's pre-eminence in the Bay of Biscay and they may indeed seek to revive all of LD's routes.  While they may get money from Govt for employing LNG ships it also allows them to sail into a SECA zone such as the English Channel.  We'll just have to wait and see!

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