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Hawser Trunnion

PHC Open Evening

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8 hours ago, Fine Whine said:

Absolutely spot on Gareth; they've done everything they can to try to make the service work, which from their point of view means making a profit. One round trip per day, one and a half, even two in the boom years in high season,; but at the end of the day if not enough people use the service you can't expect any (ferry) company to keep ploughing money into a loss making venture. 

I revert to your interesting post some months ago about why Cherbourg has fallen so spectacularly from the heights of the early 90's; regarding the UK-FRance service is Poole the wrong port, is it the configuration of the ship that's wrong, or is France, and the Cotentin penisular in particular not sufficiently on the radar any more.

My view for the future is if BF could keep Barfleur going for another 100 years in her current format they would, just plodding along with a minimal crew, hopefully making a small profit, and most importantly keeping out any eventual competition in the future.

Chris

I think we're getting a tad off topic here!  

All these issues were exhaustively gone into in these Forums in the aftermath of Barfleur's first withdrawal in 2010(?).  All I would say is that no other operator has attempted a Poole-Cherbourg service other than BF and PHC do like to see themselves working in close partnership with BF.  I would guess another operator would only come in after BF have left the scene and maybe that is why BF won't leave the scene anytime soon or if they do close their Poole-Cherbourg service only when they are satisfied that the chance of competition emerging from this quarter is minimal.  I'm not sure that aggressively going out to get replacement business in the event of BF closing down is quite PHC's style.  Those attending the Open Meeting will be able to form their own opinions.

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1 hour ago, Hawser Trunnion said:

I think we're getting a tad off topic here!  

HT I don't think this is going off topic at all, I just don't agree with your assertation in a previous post that BF haven't supported the port of Poole enough. But that's my opinion and you are quite entitled to disagree with it. 

I really hope you will be attending this PHC meeting; of course it will be interesting to hear if Mr Napton has anything to say, but as you have already alluded to I get the feeling Roscoff big wigs are taking a greater control over long-term decision making, and Christophe Matthieu especially.

I'm in the car lines waiting to board Normandie, a lively crossing in store me thinks.....:S

Chris

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Technology playing up again!

I think the essential difficulty BF face with Poole-Cherbourg is that a carpax operation likely to be successful probably wouldn't comply with their business model which is for long crossings with overnight facilities and onboard services of a high standard.  Poole-Cherbourg is a shorter crossing and would seem to need day ships with perhaps more limited facilities.  This has not been tried apart from, to some extent, in the first few years after the carpax service started with Cornouailles in 1986 when it seemed to do much better than now.  This period seemed to come to an end after the introduction of Barfleur in 1992.  If there was no demand for Poole-Cherbourg I would have thought BF would have packed it in when they withdrew Barfleur for the first time in 2010, confident no other operator would be able to make it pay either.  As it is Barfleur keeps going -- and I haven't even mentioned Cotentin, Coutances and Purbeck.

These topics tend not to get discussed in the formal addresses at these Open Meetings though I seem to recall that the CEO once characterised the withdrawal of Barfleur as "unwelcome".  Whether it will be any different next time with a BF rep there I really couldn't say.  I suppose it will turn on what Mr Napton's responsibilities are.  Of course informal conversations can and do take place after the formal part.

 

13 hours ago, Fine Whine said:

 

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7 hours ago, Hawser Trunnion said:

Technology playing up again!

I think the essential difficulty BF face with Poole-Cherbourg is that a carpax operation likely to be successful probably wouldn't comply with their business model which is for long crossings with overnight facilities and onboard services of a high standard.  Poole-Cherbourg is a shorter crossing and would seem to need day ships with perhaps more limited facilities.  This has not been tried apart from, to some extent, in the first few years after the carpax service started with Cornouailles in 1986 when it seemed to do much better than now.  This period seemed to come to an end after the introduction of Barfleur in 1992.  If there was no demand for Poole-Cherbourg I would have thought BF would have packed it in when they withdrew Barfleur for the first time in 2010, confident no other operator would be able to make it pay either.  As it is Barfleur keeps going -- and I haven't even mentioned Cotentin, Coutances and Purbeck.

These topics tend not to get discussed in the formal addresses at these Open Meetings though I seem to recall that the CEO once characterised the withdrawal of Barfleur as "unwelcome".  Whether it will be any different next time with a BF rep there I really couldn't say.  I suppose it will turn on what Mr Napton's responsibilities are.  Of course informal conversations can and do take place after the formal part.

 

HT,

Thats exactly why they launched Barfleur with “Trucklkne” emblazoned all over the hull and marketed as “The Insiders way to France” from memory. And you surely can’t argue she isn’t overburdened with facilities in her current guise!

I’m afraid I’m the wrong person to get into an argument with BF and Cherbourg, I spent 17 years living and working there from 1993 - 2011 and have witnessed the ups and downs first hand. Barfleur was a fine, popular and busy ship during the early years and I can recall many crossings when she was heaving. Her main problem Then was not enough cabin space on the overnight departure to France so BF were turning away customers during peak season (and peak fares). You mention Cotentin, another proof of how the company went to costly lengths to boost Poole Harbour coffers back in 2007, just a year before the world economy went into free fall and freight plummeted. That’s why they withdrew the service back in 2010, because their core 12 month a year revenue had evaporated, coupled with Sterling crashing from over £1=1.40€ to almost parity in the blink of an eye and HFO prices at an all time high.

So I think they deserve great credit for still operating the route today, even though Sterling is weak again following the referendum result although low crude prices help. Let’s hope Barfleur keeps ticking over, at least BF have committed to an almost year round service, which historically wasn’t always the case. Once Caen and Le Havre get their respective new vessels and the e-flexer kicks in it would be great if Etretat could replace Pelican and offer a full service to Spain from Poole one day.

Anyway safely back in Havant, the crossing last night turned out to be fine; the camper van immediately in front of me was stopped at passport control this morning and 2 wriggling migrants were hoiked out from between the wheels and unceremoniously frog marched away for processing....

Chris

 

Edited by Fine Whine
Can’t spell ‘the’ !
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As I have suggested previously I think it's very much a case of waiting and seeing concerning BF's future operations.

As it doesn't appear entirely clear what Mr Napton's responsibilities are I wonder if anything of surpassing interest to BF enthusiasts will emerge from the next PHC Open Meeting!

To deal with any confusion, as I understand the position BF's top management structure is of the two tier variety which, as far as I am aware, is unknown on this side of the Channel but is mandatory, for example, under German Company Law in that country.  This requires there to be a main Supervisory Board which can be quite large and which exercises final management control.  Below this is the Management Board which is smaller and consists of the senior executives and which reports to the Supervisory Board.  In the case of BF it will be the latter which will take the final decisions concerning the company's operations but doubtless the Management Board will have its input.

 

 

 

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There is going to be a new gangway in Poole, the present one with the steps is being replaced by ramps.  Foundations are being prepared for the new one.  Know no more than this, saw it on Facebook via someone who works at the port.

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17 hours ago, Khaines said:

There is going to be a new gangway in Poole, the present one with the steps is being replaced by ramps.  Foundations are being prepared for the new one.  Know no more than this, saw it on Facebook via someone who works at the port.

Well I hope they make the facility fully versatile and not just dedicated to one ship like the outer end of RoRo 3's upper ramp.  Poole are good at doing this!  Who knows they might even have to accommodate a Balearia Visentini from Spain!  I assume this is at RoRo 3 and not at RoRo 2 for Condor Lib.  Hopefully some indication as to what this is all about will be given at the Open Meeting.

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3 hours ago, Khaines said:

I know there isn’t going to be a lift involved like Cherbourg’s, I did take the opportunity to ask that one - apparently not!

It would be interesting to know how many UK ferryports have lifts of this sort.  Portsmouth for one doesn't between Berths 3 and 4 -- or at least it didn't the last time I was there.  I seem to remember Sheerness (!) had an escalator!  I suppose Poole may be wise in not spending too much money having regard to the ups and downs of the ferry industry!  Or maybe they want the rather substantial movable steps I seem to remember they have for the cruise ships expected at South Quay!

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On 12/12/2017 at 15:13, Khaines said:

There is going to be a new gangway in Poole, the present one with the steps is being replaced by ramps.  Foundations are being prepared for the new one.  Know no more than this, saw it on Facebook via someone who works at the port.

I would say, without a shadow of a doubt, that Plymouth needs a new gangway FAR more than Poole!

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Got locked in the Cherbourg one once, about 8 of us footies after disembarking our Poole friend the lift would not open.  Remember loads of anxious French voices outside while they beavered away trying to let us out..😄😄

Edited by Khaines

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