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Matt73

Cap Finistere

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Hi all,

I had great trip on the Cap last Sunday and my first.  Back on her next week.

Please could somebody enlighten me as to the reason why she is operated as a stern loader only?

It seems to be a very inefficient way to operate a drive through and double deck loader.  I appreciate that Bilbao and Santander are without upper level ramps and that Bilbao has no gangways.

Will Portsmouth, Plymouth, Bilbao and Santander get double deck ramps for the forthcoming e-flexers?

Will BF keep the Cap once the new ships arrive?

Thanks

Matt

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It’s because the stern is so much wider (therefore enabling multiple lanes of loading / unloading simultaneously) and the bow access has restricted height (so stern-loading enables a wider variety of freight to be carried).

CF has operated as a stern-only loader for several years now, and has only ever loaded through the bow at Cherbourg and Santander (when Santander had the previous, narrower linkspan) during her service with BF.  I’d be surprised if she ever loads through the bow again, other than in an emmergency, whilst in BF service.

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Never one to be a cynic - but I think the chances of Plymouth ever getting a double level linkspan are absolute zero. 

To be fair it isn't really necessary... I don't see the e-flexers doing Plymouth in the foreseeable future but I may be wrong. However, there are still quite a few interesting possibilities when they are introduced...

Cap Finistere is more than capable of serving Plymouth (foot passenger access restrictions accepted)... Maybe even a Plymouth - Cork route, or a Plymouth - Roscoff - Cork - Santander - Plymouth?! ... and you never know, Pont Aven could return there full time and do double weekly Roscoff & Santander rotations, and not bother at all with Portsmouth if the e-flexers are serving there.

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Agreed, Plymouth and the Spanish ports will not get twin level linkspans.  No need - they will never arrange schedules on those routes that require the rapid turnrounds you see on the Ouistreham route.

Portsmouth already has twin linkspans.  CF does not use them - we had a discussion on here once as to why CF never unloads on 2 levels at Portsmouth but I can’t remember what the reason was.  May have been something to do with mooring machinery and mooring lines criss-crossing that part of the deck.  Or may have been simply that she doesn’t fit. But it’s never been a problem as she has 3 hour turnarounds.

Agree with hf totally about Plymouth - it would be great to see PA back there full time once the flexers are in service.  I guess it’s one of 3 possible plans BF could have for PA once the e-flexers arrive.  (The others being to replace Bretagne or Connemara).

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I should think that PA could accommodate an entire seasons' Connemara passengers on one trip couldn't it? Great for fuel economy:)

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Both Bilbao & Gijon are earmarked for twin level linkspans, it's part of the regional port improvements although as has been mentioned it's not specifically ferry related, it's more to do with Northern Spain's overall freight resurgence. Balearia will only be using a stern loader at Gijon and the new linkspan at Zierbena is to be fitted on the berth Pelican currently uses.

In terms of freight transit there's big, big changes in the pipeline which will effect many of the French western channel ports.

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1 hour ago, jonno said:

Both Bilbao & Gijon are earmarked for twin level linkspans, it's part of the regional port improvements although as has been mentioned it's not specifically ferry related, it's more to do with Northern Spain's overall freight resurgence. Balearia will only be using a stern loader at Gijon and the new linkspan at Zierbena is to be fitted on the berth Pelican currently uses.

In terms of freight transit there's big, big changes in the pipeline which will effect many of the French western channel ports.

What big changes are in the pipeline?

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12 hours ago, Matt73 said:

Will BF keep the Cap once the new ships arrive?

Thanks

Matt

I would suspect so as it’s one of the few Ferries BF actually own themselves.

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2 hours ago, jonno said:

Both Bilbao & Gijon are earmarked for twin level linkspans, it's part of the regional port improvements although as has been mentioned it's not specifically ferry related, it's more to do with Northern Spain's overall freight resurgence. Balearia will only be using a stern loader at Gijon and the new linkspan at Zierbena is to be fitted on the berth Pelican currently uses.

In terms of freight transit there's big, big changes in the pipeline which will effect many of the French western channel ports.

I cannot see it frankly. The lack of a double level link span in any port does not have any real affect on operations at todays levels, with the exception of possibly the Portsmouth-Caen route, and also the vessel Barfleur. 

BF basically made the ro-ro facilities operational in Bilbao. They will not sit back and let someone munch away at their freight business happily, and have long established and close relationships with many of their freight clients. I don't think there is that much 'extra' traffic, sitting around waiting for another operator, or who are deeply unhappy with BF.

The addition of a double level linkspan in Gijon won't make it any more of a popular route than it currently is... which is why it is still sitting basically unoccupied after so long. BF could easily have moved in if they wanted to, even with a token operation such as an Etretat or Connemara, if they thought the numbers were there. It is just not that much of an attractive route to hauliers.

 

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54 minutes ago, Jack N said:

What big changes are in the pipeline?

 

19 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Seconded!

Most of the UK & Irish bound freight from Africa, Spain & Portugal will be carried through Spanish ports rather than heading up through France, equally southern bound freight will be "encouraged" to do the same. Logistics companies  opting to use new services bound for new facilities in Bilbao, Pasajes & San Sebastian will also be "favoured". Some of the stuff I've read from the EU suggests that as much as 30% will be redirected 

Cork is focusing on building unaccompanied services tied to their new Tivoli relocation, Rosslare is growing it's accompanied freight.

On the eastern side a good deal of freight which historically passed through Dover is now shipped out of Felixstowe & Immingham. Tilbury will lower the dependence on Dover even more.

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2 minutes ago, hf_uk said:

I cannot see it frankly. The lack of a double level link span in any port does not have any real affect on operations at todays levels, with the exception of possibly the Portsmouth-Caen route, and also the vessel Barfleur. 

BF basically made the ro-ro facilities operational in Bilbao. They will not sit back and let someone munch away at their freight business happily, and have long established and close relationships with many of their freight clients. I don't think there is that much 'extra' traffic, sitting around waiting for another operator, or who are deeply unhappy with BF.

The addition of a double level linkspan in Gijon won't make it any more of a popular route than it currently is... which is why it is still sitting basically unoccupied after so long. BF could easily have moved in if they wanted to, even with a token operation such as an Etretat or Connemara, if they thought the numbers were there. It is just not that much of an attractive route to hauliers.

 

A little skewed I think, there was already a perfectly serviceable linkspan at Santurzi. The freight BF carry now and in the future is small compared to the overall volumes, there's room for everyone.

You're thinking passengers... it's all about freight.

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4 hours ago, jonno said:

A little skewed I think, there was already a perfectly serviceable linkspan at Santurzi. The freight BF carry now and in the future is small compared to the overall volumes, there's room for everyone.

You're thinking passengers... it's all about freight.

Perhaps. But freight isn't a massive part of BF's business... do you really think the numbers are there to make it work for other operators as their primary focus?

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Pont Aven to Plymouth I think is possible, following the arrival of the e-flexers. What happens with Armorique will be interesting! Perfect for Plymouth-Roscoff but incredibly versatile vessel, I wonder if she might get shifted up to a Portsmouth route more permanently.

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15 minutes ago, MichaelBF said:

Pont Aven to Plymouth I think is possible, following the arrival of the e-flexers. What happens with Armorique will be interesting! Perfect for Plymouth-Roscoff but incredibly versatile vessel, I wonder if she might get shifted up to a Portsmouth route more permanently.

ARMORIQUE IS NOT DOING PORTSMOUTH TO ST-MALO!

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All,

Thanks so much for your interesting and informative responses.

Gareth's point about the Cap's bow having height restrictions is interesting.  Superfast VII VIII and X all use theirs, albeit over two levels, and they're essentially the same design as the Cap.

As for Plymouth, why ABP don't spend some money on the terminal, the linkspan and a covered gangway is a mystery.  I was unimpressed with the whole set up when I went on the PA to Santander a few years ago as a foot passenger.

Why is there an unused linkspan so close to the main one and was it ever intended to be used?  Could they ever have two operational at the same time, were BF to ramp up their Spanish services from Milbay?

Thanks again,

Matt

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16 minutes ago, MichaelBF said:

I wonder if she might get shifted up to a Portsmouth route more permanently.

For what route?  The only situation under which I can see that making sense would be if BF used her to open a Portsmouth-Cherbourg route.  For which she would be prefect.  Other than that, there is no reason to move her from Plymouth.

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5 hours ago, jonno said:

A little skewed I think, there was already a perfectly serviceable linkspan at Santurzi. The freight BF carry now and in the future is small compared to the overall volumes, there's room for everyone.

You're thinking passengers... it's all about freight.

Regarding Santurzi, I believe BF moved to Zierbena because of better road access, particularly for freight.

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2 minutes ago, Matt73 said:

Why is there an unused linkspan so close to the main one and was it ever intended to be used?

It’s been in use since 1976!  It is the original linkspan from when the CFP at Portsmouth first opened.  It’s too small to accommodate anything other than NEX these days, but for that purpose it is used constantly through the summer season.

As to the other point, there are 4 other linkspans at Portsmouth, which are often all used at the same time.  Three of them by BF.

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1 hour ago, hf_uk said:

Perhaps. But freight isn't a massive part of BF's business... do you really think the numbers are there to make it work for other operators as their primary focus?

The freight numbers will be there for RoRo & ConRo as the EU initial 5 billion euro investment is designed to get 800,000 TEU's off French roads... That's 800,000 per annum. BF will still have a role to play as we'll still want fresh goods from Spain etc, it's why they're investing in the E flexers ... they want the lane metres and they want frequency.

The powers at be also expect pax numbers to jump too as many coastal areas in Spain will become more accessible due to the improved road and rail links.

There's a few links to it all on the Gijon thread which covers a fair bit of it... the new railways, auto hubs for GM & VW etc, basically all of the northern coast of Spain.

Give it 5/6 years and there'll be an e flexer sailing from Rosslare to Spain, whether it has BF or Stena on the side is another matter.

It'll be the likes of Caen and Cherbourg which will suffer, many southern European drivers head there unlike both Roscoff & St Malo where freight figures are poorer as its more localised. Goods through Le Havre & Dieppe tend to head to and from Rouen.

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36 minutes ago, Gareth said:

For what route?  The only situation under which I can see that making sense would be if BF used her to open a Portsmouth-Cherbourg route.  For which she would be prefect.  Other than that, there is no reason to move her from Plymouth.

I can see her being shifted over to Poole-Cherbourg in the long term if no longer required at Plymouth. Armorique could replace 'she who must not be named' offering a much more spacious and comfortable range of cabins but without significantly upgrading the overall onboard offering to full-on cruise ferry. Ed. 

Edited by Cabin-boy
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29 minutes ago, Matt73 said:

Regarding Santurzi, I believe BF moved to Zierbena because of better road access, particularly for freight.

To be honest I think it's what Bilbao wanted too as part of their port regeneration. There's a lot of piling and dock building going on. There's also a few new terminal building concepts floating around... very Zaha Hadid.

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47 minutes ago, Gareth said:

It’s been in use since 1976!  It is the original linkspan from when the CFP at Portsmouth first opened.  It’s too small to accommodate anything other than NEX these days, but for that purpose it is used constantly through the summer season.

As to the other point, there are 4 other linkspans at Portsmouth, which are often all used at the same time.  Three of them by BF.

I think that question was in regards to Plymouth, although my understanding was that there wasn't any serviceable equipment left there, it's too small for any practical use and therefore has been abandoned. Unfortunately Plymouth doesn't quite have the demand to warrant it.

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14 minutes ago, penguin said:

I think that question was in regards to Plymouth, although my understanding was that there wasn't any serviceable equipment left there, it's too small for any practical use and therefore has been abandoned. Unfortunately Plymouth doesn't quite have the demand to warrant it.

I think Gareth got mixed up there.  It was the original link span in Plymouth, wasn't there something on here a few years ago saying that the Royal Marines have used it at times?

If the PA came to Plymouth full time it would be to service Spain and Cork, not replace Armorique.

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