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BobCrox

Brexit effect on BF

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Brittany Ferries warned last week that it had been warned that every vessel carrying refrigerated goods, food and other natural products may face inspections upon arrival in France after Britain leaves the EU, with around a third of the 210,000 freight units carried by Brittany Ferries every year affected.
The firm said this would need infrastructure such as huge warehouses to carry out the task and those do not exist in Roscoff and other French ports and it is unlikely to be in place by March next year.
Brittany Ferries also said there was a risk that some ports could be excluded from post-Brexit preparations entirely, which would mean there would be fewer entry points into France for hauliers.
The company's CEO Christophe Mathieu said: "The British may take a pragmatic approach and wave lorries through upon arrival into the UK, but cross-Channel trade works both ways. In a worst case scenario, British hauliers carrying refrigerated goods could face the prospect of far longer journeys – perhaps hundreds of additional miles – to find a French port equipped to process their consignment. When they finally get there they could encounter further delays waiting for checks to take place.
“The reality of this would be a loss of connectivity and a significant threat to jobs and long term investment in regions like the south west of England.”

 

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Interesting post, thanks Bob.  Lots of “may”s and “could”s but that is always the case with the unknown.

Happy to leave this open as a BF discussion topic.  As ever, all posters are reminded to stay on-topic and that posts that are purely political, and not to do with the potential consequences of Brexit for BF, will be removed.  There is a place in the forum for the political discussion, in the Open House Chatter section.

Many thanks.

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Surprised you say the customs may just wave frieght straight through when docking at uk ports.i would of thought it would of been the other way round.if it did come to that what sort of chaos would that be on both side of the channel?sombody I think has said the m20 and other major roads to Dover,Portsmouth etc may become a big car park so that would be even worse still with rush hour and holiday traffic.it will just come to a complete standstill.just hope it does not come to this.

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As my old friend Doctor Wikipedia reminds us, this is a current version of the centuries old European Folk Tale, updated as "Chicken Little, Henny Penny or Chicken Little" about a chicken who thinks the sky is falling in and the world is coming to an end; widely used as an example of a mistaken belief that disaster is imminent. It'll be all right on the night, as Capitalism generally trumps Politics.  So I'm piling in to the current 20% early booking discount for Spring 2019 holidays with BF, as are lots of our friends, in the confident assumption that we'll get there.

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Today’s Bournemouth Echo carries this story.  Not on the Echo webpage yet so cannot provide a link, so thought this would suffice.  Poole - Cherbourg has increased by the looks of it, explains why madam in Poole is fully booked a lot of the time which is something that is good news.

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Edited by Khaines

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Wouldn't you think the French government would be doing everything to ease fears and encourage tourist, all it would take is a few statements that movement for tourist will continue as before or is that off script for the EU.  Encouraging tourism is only good for France, if everyone stayed at home it would benefit the UK.

Edited by Solo

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1 hour ago, Khaines said:

Today’s Bournemouth Echo carries this story.  Not on the Echo webpage yet so cannot provide a link, so thought this would suffice.  Poole - Cherbourg has increased by the looks of it, explains why madam in Poole is fully booked a lot of the time which is something that is good news.

866ABA7B-94CB-47C4-B220-108760B1E56E.jpeg

This years rise of 7% in passenger numbers is certainly good news. Although next years bookings are down we don't actually know what proportion of bookings are usually made the previous year, if it is a low proportion then clearly there is time for, hopefully, an upturn. The 5% freight reduction is rather worrying though and something that is likely to get worse given that Cherbourg doesn't have facilities for veterinary or food checks on imports. The route has been brought back from the brink before and, with this years good passenger figures, would appear to be popular. It would be a shame if inspection facilities for freight was the thing to finally sink it.

 

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47 minutes ago, Solo said:

Wouldn't you think the French government would be doing everything to ease fears and encourage tourist, all it would take is a few statements that movement for tourist will continue as before or is that off script for the EU.  Encouraging tourism is only good for France, if everyone stayed at home it would benefit the UK.

Macron put his foot in it earlier on last week when he erroneously said that we would need visas to visit France from the UK.  He retracted those words later saying he made a mistake in saying so.  

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Whilst it is understandable that people will have some uncertainty concerning future travel arrangements I doubt very much if regular tourism will be much affected if at all.Tourists will have valid passports and normally return tickets as well. The French are pragmatic, they may go along with something that hurts us and not them but not the other way round especially when incoming tourism must represent a healthy boost to their economy. We have booked two European trips for next year, one through Inghams in Italy, the other in Greece on a DiY basis and there has been no hint that anyone is worried about the situation. I would think carefully about visiting France again though, firstly because we perceive it as being an expensive destination and secondly because of the risk of wildcat industrial action by French workers, unfortunately now including BF crews it would seem.

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11 minutes ago, cvabishop said:

Whilst it is understandable that people will have some uncertainty concerning future travel arrangements I doubt very much if regular tourism will be much affected if at all.Tourists will have valid passports and normally return tickets as well. The French are pragmatic, they may go along with something that hurts us and not them but not the other way round especially when incoming tourism must represent a healthy boost to their economy.

I'm sure you're right Colin but people can only travel on ferries if they are available. We have been told for years that freight is the key to maintaining routes and, as we see at Plymouth, a year round service. If, as we have already seen on Poole-Cherbourg, there is a general reduction in freight movements have many routes will survive at their current levels and their current prices. You have already voted with your feet. Will others, in sufficient numbers, do the same and effect viability of current services?

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It’s interesting that people find France expensive I can’t comment on day to day living cost but our two bedroomed Gite in Brittany cost us €740 for 2 weeks a meal at the local restaurant costs all in about €50 and 2 glasses of wine costs about €6 , fruit and veg is expensive and meat certainly is a bit more expensive but all in still cheaper  than a staycation , the one thing that will stop me travelling with BF is sitting in a que at Plymouth for 2 hours or more hopefully that won’t happen post Brexit.

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There was a good deal of Brexit uncertainty before BF decided to invest €170 million on a vessel they don't particularly need. BF have been singing from this hymn sheet for two years now.

I also wonder whether the change in the deposit system has effected bookings too. Previously the £35/40 initial payment probably encouraged travellers to pencil in multiple sailings, the new 25% would suggest that prospective customers are committing to one.

G4rth, Plymouth and St Malo have never really been freight routes and to a degree Cherbourg is dictated to by the port authority who own them and Caen then there's  the Poole Bridge closures which couldn't have helped. I think the Echo reported that closures have been the equivalent of 19 weeks during the past 12 months not to mention those overnight too.

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Forgot to mention too that freight travelling through the tunnel has increased due to improvements of compatible rail gauges and loco's. Our exports to the Netherlands, a country we export a similar £30 odd billion to,  have increased plus Newhaven-Dieppe is popular and has steadily increased since DFDS transferred lock stock and barrel up the coast.

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Bridge closure may have been a consideration when there was only the one bridge. Use of the new bridge only adds about a quarter to half a mile by road to the port so I wouldn't have thought that would really be much of a concern.

Edited by G4rth
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I know we've all discussed it as a hypothetical... which it still is of course, but is the evidence gathering toward the ports sub specialsing?

Portsmouth can't increase it's footprint although ships are growing and it has become the western channel equivalent of Dover. Could Condor relocate their conventional tonnage to Poole creating a Channel Island hub freeing up a linkspan?

Is it realistic to suggest BF relocating any new or existing vessel which serves St Malo to Poole and more passenger focused Spanish sailings to Plymouth thus leaving PIP to focus on the freight heavy services to Spain and France?

Portsmouth having Cherbourg, Le Havre, Santander, Bilbao.

Poole having St Malo and the Channel Islands.

Plymouth having Roscoff and a busier Santander service.

Being shorter and of equal draft to a Visentini you could argue that Pont Aven could sail from Poole covering winter St Malo sailings as she does now from Pompey and we know the Arm' easily gets in.

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39 minutes ago, G4rth said:

Bridge closure may have been a consideration when there was only the one bridge. Use of the new bridge only adds about a quarter to half a mile by road to the port so I wouldn't have thought that would really be much of a concern.

Unless you are travelling by foot - or live on the Hamworthy side and do not drive.  Then, if the old bridge is out of use it is a pain in thr Gluteus Maximus.

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10 minutes ago, Khaines said:

Unless you are travelling by foot - or live on the Hamworthy side and do not drive.  Then, if the old bridge is out of use it is a pain in thr Gluteus Maximus.

I appreciate on foot it is further and not a particularly nice walk either but we don't know what, if any, the effect of the old bridge closure had on foot passengers. The one thing we can be certain of is that it would be unusual to say the least for foot passengers to also be carrying freight. Freight is the category that we know has reduced in the last year so in that regard as there is an alternative not much further away perhaps the bridge closure argument may not hold much water. That's not to say that the bridge closure was not a problem to a lot of people, it clearly was.

 

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They added to the old bridge closure with roadworks nearby as well to add insult to injury.  Went on and on.  Attention has now shifted to the A338 spur road (again!) but only a matter of time before the old bridge is closed for whatever.

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Somehow this thread seems to have become fixated on Poole (once again) but seeing as how the town overwhelmingly voted in favour of leaving the EU perhaps we can forgive the transgression this time. 😀 Ed. 

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4 minutes ago, Cabin-boy said:

Somehow this thread seems to have become fixated on Poole (once again) but seeing as how the town overwhelmingly voted in favour of leaving the EU perhaps we can forgive the transgression this time. 😀 Ed. 

Well, perhaps if those who live in the areas of the other BF ports, or any ports come to think of it, read their local papers or see their pages online, shared what they see, then the subject would be diluted.  I take an interest in my local media and any BF related news I share.  

What exactly is your problem with Poole being mentioned when we are discussing Brexit, Ed.  You might find it worth joking about as a town that voted leave or it being mentioned on here, but it is no laughing matter to those who might well be affected.  Why does it have to be a joke to you?  At least I show interest in my local area and post information up here.  Why does Poole have to be joked about AGAIN.

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This thread is about the Brexit effect on BF overall. Not about the bridges in Poole. Or Bar(the sun shines out of my funnel)fleur specifically. She is (I would guess) the least used, least profitable member of the fleet, serving the two least-well-connected towns on the network and subsequently the least important when it comes to BF policy post-Brexit. 

I understand your devotion to the town and will be very willing to read anything you post if the title and/or body of the text contains the word 'will' and not 'could', 'may' or 'might'. Until that time I personally would prefer we stick to facts and not speculation and let BF put out their own press releases (as cited in the OP) rather than rely on the local press to tell us what they think is going to happen. Ed

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As long as Cherbourg is associated with Poole the concerns will always be there and always be talked about.

The PNA are moving Cherbourg into Marine Renewable Energies specialisation whilst promoting Caen as their preferred freight and multipurpose regional port. the PNA are calling them complementary assets.

Don't think Irish Ferries have busy freight sailings either, their figures are skewed by any motorhome or caravan outfit longer than 6 metres and higher than 2.6m and Stena are in it for the livestock and bloodstock licence they bought from Celtic Line.

Whether the UK port is Poole, Plymouth, Portsmouth or even Penzance freight will continue to fall heading to Cherbourg as it's now secondary to wind turbines. The PNA have invested over €100 million in the technology and it's construction.

Cluster Maritime Francais don't expect Cherbourg to be busy, the port doesn't figure in it's strategic plan to regain market share as all of their efforts are focused on Calais, Le Havre, Nantes-St Nazaire and Bordeaux. This was the national strategy launched by the French Ministry of Transport back in 2013.

What questions are you asking your privately owned harbour board. What are the Harbour board doing about it?

Are they actively promoting their facilities, in all of the shipping publications I read I never see Poole harbour advertising in there, tourist stuff yes, trying to attract rich yacht owners or niche periodic cruise ships, never anything industrial, nothing in any specialised freight publication which is even worse considering the new quay they've just built... Telepathy is not a reliable sales ploy.

There's a railway line direct to the quay, where are plans to exploit that, there's not many ports outside of the UK global facilities with one of those? 

Have they actively engaged say BF in negotiating for NEX for example to run her summer sailings from the port? 

Have they nagged at BF and offered incentives to possibly try a winter alternative from their linkspan instead of one at Portsmouth?

Have they offered Condor a sweet deal to see their conventional ferries turn left at Swanage?

I'd be asking these questions before pointing the finger at a supposed BF monopoly or the easy option of blaming Brexit which is 2 years away... at least.

Remember that Southampton was a backwater on a silted river 125 years ago until someone had a plan and lied to White Star in a bid to attract them south from Liverpool.

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39 minutes ago, Cabin-boy said:

This thread is about the Brexit effect on BF overall. Not about the bridges in Poole. Or Bar(the sun shines out of my funnel)fleur specifically. She is (I would guess) the least used, least profitable member of the fleet, serving the two least-well-connected towns on the network and subsequently the least important when it comes to BF policy post-Brexit. 

I understand your devotion to the town and will be very willing to read anything you post if the title and/or body of the text contains the word 'will' and not 'could', 'may' or 'might'. Until that time I personally would prefer we stick to facts and not speculation and let BF put out their own press releases (as cited in the OP) rather than rely on the local press to tell us what they think is going to happen. Ed

Poole is a BF port and we have to use the bridges to get to it for goodness sake, Ed.  I will carry on talking about Poole, Barfleur, and the bridges associated with it as long as I see fit.  And I will carry on putting Echo reports up if they are to do with Poole, BF and Brexit.  Exactly who are you to tell me what I can or cannot post about?  Your issue is, that it is a negative story about BF and Brexit.  Echo story links are always put on here regarding BF so what is the issue, there have always been links to newspaper stories on here.  Tou can choose to ignore it.   The press stuff comes directly from BF,.

why are you being so unpleasant and sarcastic about us in Poole, it happens very frequently, Ed, it isn’t fair on us Poole folk, and yes we are devoted to our town we LIVE here!  Yes we are devoted to Barfleur, she is the BF ship from out port.

 

for goodness sake, Ed.  I will carry on as I see fit.

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Coming back to the decline of BF bookings and expense its interesting to trawl round various travel websites and in particular caravan etc forums..France, is I firmly believe, out of fashion at present, by the majority of Brit travellers. I`ve even seen those resident in Germany openly refer to it as some sort of hell hole you have to pass through to reach somewhere better...Their words not mine. France is considered to be massively expensive by families, even the caravanners admit prices have rocketed this year compared to last....and they take most things with them!!..We have just returned from the Canary Islands (where everything is imported) and its much cheaper living than even the UK. Sure some accomodation in France , depending on what you want, might be cheaper but the rest is not.

  BF`s biggest threat is Michael O Leary and Ryanair.. He is for 2019 opening a new large base at Nantes in addition to the other 30 already existing..He may joke that the only good thing ferries are useful for is carrying bullocks, but he has targetted the ferries for years now. 

   BF in particular are the ire of many on t`internet and referred to as `Pirates` as a result of the eye watering prices, at times, that they charge. The France market, which BF is mainly aimed at, is declining. Holiday package tours are now back in vogue, big time, as 2 weeks in Turkey can be had for less money than 2 weeks in France with sometimes dodgy weather. 

   I`ll leave the debate for now but imo its little to do with Brexit but everything to do with changing tastes

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