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Fleet Renewal - Second E-Flexer Confirmed

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Brittany Ferries has today confirmed the charter of two brand new cruise-ferries to serve its long-haul UK to Spain routes. Both ships will be built at the Avic International Weihai shipyard in China, with the first arriving in time for the 2021 holiday season.

The latest investment underlines the company’s commitment to Portsmouth and to its Spanish routes. It comes after work began this spring on a brand new LNG (liquefied natural gas) cruise ferry called Honfleur to serve its most popular Portsmouth – Caen crossing. Like Honfleur, which arrives in 2019, both ships announced today will be registered under the French flag and will be crewed by French seafarers.

Together the three ships will spearhead a wide-ranging, five-year fleet-renewal and modernisation programme worth around £400m.

Portsmouth is Brittany Ferries’ UK hub and will serve as the base for both ships. Upon arrival they will cater for an ever-increasing demand for long-haul ferry travel to Spain. In 2017 the company operated 844 sailings on routes from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth to Santander (Cantabria) and Bilbao (Basque Country), carrying 331,000 passengers and 150,000 cars. That was around 80 per cent more than ten years earlier.

“Spain is by far the most popular foreign destination for UK holidaymakers, and we have seen significant growth in demand,” said Jean-Marc Roué, Brittany Ferries’ president. “Post-Brexit, we expect this to continue and today’s announcement is a clear statement of intent. As well as passenger traffic, we believe that an increase in freight capacity will open the door to more hauliers seeking direct access between Britain and the Iberian peninsula.”

Last year, Brittany Ferries carried around 40,000 freight units from UK to Spain. Lorry drivers are able to relax as the sea takes the strain, reducing fuel costs, tolls and road pollution that comes from driving long-haul through France.

Measuring 42,400 tonnes and 215 metres long, the new vessels will be the longest in Brittany Ferries’ fleet. If Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower were laid on its side, each would outstretch it by 45 metres. These impressive dimensions will allow them to carry almost two miles of freight vehicles apiece.

The new ships are being chartered from Swedish shipping company Stena RoRo, as part of its new generation of state-of-the-art ‘E-Flexer’ vessels. Both will be gas-ready and promise a combination of luxury and Spanish style. “These ships will be like twins,” added Catherine Querné, Brittany Ferries strategy director. “Outwardly, they will have the same dimensions and shape, but they will be dressed very differently. And of course each will have its own unique personality.”

There will be plenty for passengers on board. Three spacious passenger decks will host boutiques, a café, restaurant, bar and an exclusive club lounge. Around 300 en-suite cabins will cater for approximately 1,000 passengers and many will be adapted for customers with disabilities, as well as those travelling with their pet dog or cat (Brittany Ferries carries around 70,000 annually).

Elegant décor will ensure everyone feels in the holiday mood as soon as they step on board. Brittany Ferries will be working with Spanish interior designers to give the ships a stylish, modern feel and feel, evoking the golden coasts, verdant landscapes and vibrant towns of España Verde (Green Spain) on the northern coastline.

Today’s announcement follows the launch of the first ever direct ferry service linking Ireland with Spain in April. Brittany Ferries’ Connemara made its first call into Santander from Cork on 9 May 2018. The year 2018 also marks 40 years of continuous services linking Britain with the Iberian Peninsula. Since 1978 more than 5.5 million passengers have enjoyed Spain without the ‘plane thanks to Brittany Ferries.

 

 

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Hang on a mo'

The first E-Flexer is due in 2020 and is assumed to be the BDS replacement. Does this mean BF have secured a further two with the first of these arriving in 2021?

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3 minutes ago, jonno said:

Hang on a mo'

The first E-Flexer is due in 2020 and is assumed to be the BDS replacement. Does this mean BF have secured a further two with the first of these arriving in 2021?

A further one, making 2 E-Flexers.

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14 minutes ago, TonyMWeaver said:

A further one, making 2 E-Flexers.

2 E-Flexers serving Portsmouth?!

Definitely time to move PA to Plymouth permanently then I reckon.... :)

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1 minute ago, TonyMWeaver said:

A further one, making 2 E-Flexers.

Ok thanks Tony. 

It was just that E-Flexer 3 (BF) is due the end of the 3rd quarter of 2020. E-Flexer 4 (DFDS) and the batch 2's,  No's 5 to 8 are all due from 2021.

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It's possible @jonno, The way I read the press release from BF and the BBC, it certainly sounds like a total of 2 E-Flexers along with 'Honfleur' but it wasn't very clear.

Now, what will change? 'Pont-Aven' to Plymouth/Roscoff with 'Armorique' going to Portsmouth/St Malo, 'Bretagne' leaves? 'Pont-Aven' going to St Malo with 'Bretagne' leaving? Hmmm.

Edited by TonyMWeaver

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That would give us 2 E-Flexers, PA and the Cap' serving Spain which gives BF the uplift in terms of Pax and freight they desire.

I can't see Pont Aven changing routes that would just reduce the capacity to something similar to today, especially if Pelican returns to Marseille. If this is signalling the end of Bretagne I'd rather see Normandie cover the route with Etretat remaining for Le Havre.

Steve (tarbyonline) is clued up on all things E-Flexer hopefully we'll get his input later.

Edited by jonno

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11 minutes ago, jonno said:

That would give us 2 E-Flexers, PA and the Cap' serving Spain which gives BF the uplift in terms of Pax and freight they desire.

I can't see Pont Aven changing routes that would just reduce the capacity to something similar to today, especially if Pelican returns to Marseille. If this is signalling the end of Bretagne I'd rather see Normandie cover the route with Etretat remaining for Le Havre.

Steve (tarbyonline) is clued up on all things E-Flexer hopefully we'll get his input later.

Perhaps they can take foot passengers then, unlike the 'Cap Finistere'.

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14 minutes ago, jonno said:

That would give us 2 E-Flexers, PA and the Cap' serving Spain which gives BF the uplift in terms of Pax and freight they desire.

I can't see Pont Aven changing routes that would just reduce the capacity to something similar to today, especially if Pelican returns to Marseille. If this is signalling the end of Bretagne I'd rather see Normandie cover the route with Etretat remaining for Le Havre.

Steve (tarbyonline) is clued up on all things E-Flexer hopefully we'll get his input later.

The end of Bretagne? 😢

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20 minutes ago, nottingham said:

The end of Bretagne? 😢

I'd have thought most likely. I would imagine the PA would move to the St Malo route and leave the 2x e-Flexers to Spain? 

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Let’s hope they are of a suitable standard for the fussy passengers, no more blagging one of the big balcony cabins then.

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Yep can’t see them being in a hurry too order a purpose built ship now if these are successful, Honfluer may be the last of a kind.

Edited by neilcvx

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36 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

Honfluer may be the last of a kind.

Or she might be the start (and lead ship) of a series, with maybe slightly varying lengths and internal layouts, which are flexible enough to be able to swap routes when needed. E-Flexers on the Spanish routes and Honfleur (in 'lite' and 'stretch' versions) for Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre and Roscoff. Ed. 

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Ferry Shipping News are saying Number 1 will be 'gas ready', number 2 will be LNG powered.

BF to some extent will always need to build their own tonnage due to the port constraints of Poole, Ouistreham and St Malo. At 200m I think  BDS visiting Le Havre is about as long as they can go.

Oh well so now we know it's 2021 not 2020 as first thought to see the BDS replacement. Looks like Etretat will be here a bit longer.

 

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16 hours ago, The Ferry Man said:

As good as this is, bit sad we are losing the "uniqueness" of the BF fleet

In basic construction terms, yes. However, if whats been said it to be believed then BF will have relatively free reign over the interior decor which is what contributes the most. It certainly seems thus far that they will only be sisters in terms of layout. What I find interesting is that BF have effectively been able to get two 'off the shelf' vessels and probably make a degree of savings by having ships from Stena's common E-Flexer platform. I'd be interested to know if the 5 year purchase option price is going to be fixed now or at market rates down the line.

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18 hours ago, Jim said:

I'd have thought most likely. I would imagine the PA would move to the St Malo route and leave the 2x e-Flexers to Spain? 

It also a possibility that this new vessel may replace the Cap Finistère, besides they have also mentioned her for replacement. They may be waiting to see how Honfleur turns out and then order a PA replacement at that point. Otherwise, we will be seeing a decrease in capacity. Further to this, the article talks about Portsmouth, which to me again suggests a CF replacement. 

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Can’t wait for the speculation about possible new names to start , be nice to see some of the older names reused.

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7 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

Can’t wait for the speculation about possible new names to start , be nice to see some of the older names reused.

Based on connemara's break with tradition - should we expect Spanish names, if they do get placed on those routes

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