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Fleet Renewal - Second E-Flexer Confirmed

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12 hours ago, Solo said:

The nearby village is certainly Fisterra but they seem to use Finisterre for the whole area.  I've been looking closely as hoping to visit the area next month.

From Wikipedia: "Cape Finisterre (Galician: Cabo Fisterra, Spanish: Cabo Finisterre) is a rock-bound peninsula on the west coast of Galicia, Spain." Seems to clear that up! Galicia is a magnificent region, not so well-known to British visitors - I am sure you will love it.

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7 hours ago, scarlton said:

As you know, the first one will replace BDS. The second will replace CF. No decision has been made about the future of CF after.

Where has it been said by BF that the second E flexer will replace Cap Finestere?

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10 hours ago, neilcvx said:

Where has it been said by BF that the second E flexer will replace Cap Finestere?

I think scarlton was reporting that as news Neil.  (I suspect the “as you know” only referred to the first one replacing BDS). 😉

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The whole point of the new tonnage is to increase capacities on all levels and to replace vessels leaving the fleet, it's not about replacing old ships.

Let's look at the capacities now, combined there are 3557 passenger berths and 9172 lane metres.

Replacing BDS in the short term with Etretat actually increases availability to 3617 pax berths and 9268 lane metres.

In 2021 when EF.1 arrives it will probably signal the end of Pelican and Etretat remaining and to possibly relocate to Poole giving BF a pax offering from the port together with an uplift in freight loading.

This will give them 4607 pax berths and 10776 lane metres.

In 2022 and the arrival of EF.2 the figures will be 5607 and 13876.

The increase isn't huge, it's certainly not large enough to indicate that BF will be offloading or even relocating any of their vessels.

To replace Bretagne with Pont Aven would see the Spanish route's passenger levels reduce to less than they are now.

For them to also return Etretat too in 2022 would see a total reduction to pre 2018 levels... not exactly what BF have in mind.

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The whole point of the new  ships is to make BF more profitable reducing overheads and increasing revenues , I wouldn’t like to second guess what BF will do , who would have thought a couple of years ago their newest ships would be Chinese built charters? But I would put a pretty penny on Bretagne being sold in a few years time.

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Having made a round trip on Bretagne a couple of weeks ago, I’d say that most customers (who aren’t ‘in the know’ over her age etc) would find the ship perfectly acceptable.

That said, the economics for BF of running her are an entirely different matter.  

 

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1 hour ago, neilcvx said:

The whole point of the new  ships is to make BF more profitable reducing overheads and increasing revenues , I wouldn’t like to second guess what BF will do , who would have thought a couple of years ago their newest ships would be Chinese built charters? But I would put a pretty penny on Bretagne being sold in a few years time.

I see what you're saying Neil but the ships aren't really charters are they? It's new tonnage being paid for on the drip, BF even have their own designers and both vessels are being configured for BF's needs not Stena's as they'll own them from year five.

I'm not surprised that a Chinese yard are building them, they have the best and cheapest steel and have pioneered various cutting techniques, it was inevitable that European carriers would look east, all the European yards want to build is huge cruise ships... If STX had built PEGASIS that would have been the Koreans. The Scandinavian designers Deltamarin are also owned by the Chinese shipyard.

Isn't it 2nd guessing that it's inevitable that Bretagne will be sold in few years? That's been said for the last five years, if her condition was such that she had to go surely it would have been that route rather than Ouistreham which was prioritised.

It's true what you say, it's about  being more profitable that mostly means more feight, why else would BF be replacing a vessel next year, Normandie, with one which carries more goods vehicles but 500 less passengers, Honfleur, it sort of knocks the Pont Aven to St Malo scenario on the head a bit as you don't move you're ship with 3500 lane metres from a freight heavy route to one which carries very little nor do you create more pax space when the very vessel she's to replace is never full.

I agree Bretagne will be replaced in the future, I reckon five or six years I will bet you that it won't be Pont Aven, she'd be a waste of profitable space.

 

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4 hours ago, Gareth said:

I think scarlton was reporting that as news Neil.  (I suspect the “as you know” only referred to the first one replacing BDS). 😉

Exactly. Sorry I wasn't clear.

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What options do BF have but to put Pont on St Malo ? Where will they get a more suitable replacement? A smaller eflexer ? Will Bretagne last another 5 years? Running costs and maintenance issues not to mention the issues that occur as highlighted on TripAdvisor with her plumbing and tiredness of the cabins, surely the sensible thing would be to promote StMalo more when there’s a bigger ship on it let the BF marketing and freight side drive sales, then they might be able to afford a 3rd eflexer.

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At present Bretagne is laid up for around 3 months of the year. Assuming they will only need a full complement of ships to Spain (once the E-Flexers arrive) from say June to September that would allow PA to cover St Malo for most of the year. They could keep Bretagne in reserve and reactivate her only for the summer period as they do with NEX. That would prolong her life by a couple of years at least, allowing BF to find a long term solution for the route. Ed. 

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There is nothing wrong with Bretagne either her plumbing or her cabins, many of Normandies look shabbier but there's no plan to sell her is there?

She's only 29 years old, how many stories do we hear of the quality of Oscar Wilde, Mariella, Amorella, Pearl Seaways, the Newcastle sisters plus the two P&O's which sail from Hull? These vessels are older and aren't BF reknowned for the quality of their maintenance schedules?

I wouldn't be surprised to see BF commission another build from FSG to replace her. Longer, less height, larger restaurant, larger self service, larger shops with a capacity for 1500 berths and 650 cars.

BF will need a full complement to Spain all year due to the freight movements.

 

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Unfortunately, Bretagne's time is limited. This isn't necessarily a move to replace her, however I've been told she is in the cross hair. It will be a shame to see her go.

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28 minutes ago, jonno said:

There is nothing wrong with Bretagne either her plumbing or her cabins, many of Normandies look shabbier but there's no plan to sell her is there?

She's only 29 years old, how many stories do we hear of the quality of Oscar Wilde, Mariella, Amorella, Pearl Seaways, the Newcastle sisters plus the two P&O's which sail from Hull? These vessels are older and aren't BF reknowned for the quality of their maintenance schedules?

I wouldn't be surprised to see BF commission another build from FSG to replace her. Longer, less height, larger restaurant, larger self service, larger shops with a capacity for 1500 berths and 650 cars.

BF will need a full complement to Spain all year due to the freight movements.

 

Even people on her comment about her cabins looking “tired” and I’ve seen plenty comments on TripAdvisor about her plumbing, taste of the water, flooded cabins, I know she’s popular and plods on but BF wanted rid of her years ago.

And there’s the fact of the wear and tear on Pont sailing to Spain for years to come.

Edited by neilcvx

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7 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

Even people on her comment about her cabins looking “tired” and I’ve seen plenty comments on TripAdvisor about her plumbing, taste of the water, flooded cabins, I know she’s popular and plods on but BF wanted rid of her years ago.

I understand what you're saying but as we all know many of the kind of people who moan on trip advisor will always find something to complain about, regardless of the ship, so I think such comments often need more than a pinch of salt ;)

If BF did want rid of Bretagne years ago I'm sure they would have found a means of doing so. As has been said, she is far from elderly and has certainly never seemed in any way tired when I've sailed on her. 

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We will see what happens in due course , second guessing BF is harder than most of us would think and you have unforeseeable circumstances to take into account like subsidies and so on, let’s wait and see, I’m sure there will be more good news before long .

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The St Malo route is heavily biased to the summer and cabins rather than lane metres. So Bretagne is perfect for the route but for her age - this can be mitigated by laying her up for longer each year and eventually becoming a summer only ship. Putting the PA on that route is a waste of lane metres and I suspect that the route isn't profitable enough to put a brand new ship on. So I suspect that they will keep Bretagne on there as long as possible, knowing that her days are numbered; and that the PA might well be the best option as she too gets older.

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Pont Aven is going to be unusual for the Spanish routes with her lack of freight capacity if she is retained there. It might be that BF think she has most value continuing as a high earning peak season cruise ferry to Spain complementing the, presumably, less opulent eflexers.

Her service speed is the thing which would be most wasted at St Malo rather than her relatively small freight capacity and the car/passenger mix isn't a bad fit. In fact does Bretagne not suffer from a lack of cabins in summer?

Bretagne can go on for years presumably but there must be a maintenance/operational cost vs benefit balancing act going on with her. I guess BF have a couple of future fleet scenarios in mind but a lot will happen economically and operationally before the final choice needs to be made. 

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5 hours ago, impreza280 said:

I suspect that the route isn't profitable enough to put a brand new ship on.

I think that opens another debate for a different time. St Malo carries more freight and passenger vehicles over the full year than Roscoff. BF's inaugural route is strong during Q2 & Q3 but performs badly during Q1 & Q4 this is possibly due to the natural exposure to the elements both ports in the far west experience. 

As hhvferry highlights the St Malo route suffers due to a poor cabin total which only offers a bed to half her passengers, raising this to around 1500 would see the crossing be BF's second busiest in terms of short sea passenger movements. In  my guesstimation having Pont Aven's 2400 would be too great a leap.

Hhvferry also exposes another key point. The Pont Aven has a generous amount of vehicle space however most of this is configured for car or car & caravan transportation. As a rough estimation only a maximum 640 lane metres are available for freight, that's around 80 HGV's with the remaining 2860 lm's being filled with approx 500-570 car combinations. It's not bad for a traditional cruise ferry but when you consider that the E-flexer can carry 180 HGV's the paucity of high revenue generating freight income is well and truly highlighted. 

Pont Aven's role on the route as a traditional passenger carrying cruise ferry wouldn't be a burden as both the E-Flexers, Cap Finistere and possibly Etretat give BF a near 500 HGV capacity and a minimum of a further 240 pax vehicle spaces.

Edited by jonno

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I know the sailing we are on outwards in the summer has no cabins left and that’s outwith the school holidays and the sailing on the same day to the UK is Full, you have to wonder how much money BF is losing in the summer months on the route, another point worth bearing in mind is cost if you compare the Ponts Thursday night Roscoff sailing it’s substantially cheaper than the StMalo equivalent, would the price change with a new ship? Would BF offer more deals? 

Can BF afford a new ship for StMalo ? If the Spain routes are so popular would another EFlexer not make more sense?

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16 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

Can BF afford a new ship for StMalo ? If the Spain routes are so popular would another EFlexer not make more sense?

I'd guess another E-Flexer would make sense if it was to replace Etretat which would allow BF to dispense with their Economie offering or possibly Cap Finistere in order to allow BF to expand their Irish route.

@Giloine found this which he's posted on the E-flexer thread.

A fourth order is in sight. It concerns "Brittany". Carried out in Saint-Nazaire at Chantiers de l'Atlantique which became STX, it has been operated by the company since 1989. The choice of the place of construction of its replacement should be known during the first half of 2019. The Brittany Region will participate in its financing. 

Stanislas du Guerny
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1 hour ago, neilcvx said:

A partial “government funded” ship?

Apart from Cap Finistere and Normandie Express (I think?) none of the fleet are owned by Brittany Ferries hence for Bretagne we have SABEMEN:

SOCIÉTÉ ANONYM BRETONNE D'ÉCONOMIE MIXTE D'ÉQUIPEMENT NAVAL.

It was created in 1982 and has a capital of €83.4m.

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I was aware that was the case with the Caen ships and Bretagnes funding has been documented on here before , will be intresting to see where a French built ship will go and who will own it.

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