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SAILING UPDATES: 2020 Latest News


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2 minutes ago, LHCity said:

Le Havre is the largest port in France. It is normal that even with very poor BF frequencies, this route is very popular for freight. Normally, Le Havre / Portsmouth carries as much Freight as all Spanish BF routes. Last year, the port of Le Havre was heavily impacted by French social movements (blockades by yellow vests and pension reform).

With only one start a day in 2018, Le Havre accounted for half of Ouistreham's Freight. This is why Le Havre / Portsmouth lives without a subsidy from the French state (unlike other routes)

In my opinion, Brexit will bring down a lot of cards on the Trans-Channel. Managing the queues at customs will require a better distribution of supply from the various Norman and Breton ports (unless the city of Ouistreham is converted into a freight car park)

And in my opinion Le Havre and Cherbourg will be popular for short sea containers and trailers - but ropax ??

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My son wanted to see the Pont Aven come in and we hung around for the Connemara too. The Pont Aven even gave a blast of the horn as he waved from the round tower. 

Can I just say that’s terrible news about your wife - I for one would like to pass on heartfelt thoughts to you both as I’m sure other Enthusiasts will as well.... Chris

When did they install that massive bird on the mast? Is that to scare the hell out of the seagulls and stop them from pooping on the poop deck?! 😉

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7 minutes ago, David Williams said:

And in my opinion Le Havre and Cherbourg will be popular for short sea containers and trailers - but ropax ??

It depends on the type of ship and the frequencies. Simply. Apart from the night, travelling on ETRETAT or CONNEMARA does not bring any attraction.

LD Lines made 400,000 ropax per year with only one start per day on NORMAN SPIRIT (CALAIS SEAWAYS). With the replacement by NORMAN VOYAGER (ETRETAT), traffic has decreased.

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14 minutes ago, LHCity said:

It depends on the type of ship and the frequencies. Simply. Apart from the night, travelling on ETRETAT or CONNEMARA does not bring any attraction.

LD Lines made 400,000 ropax per year with only one start per day on NORMAN SPIRIT (CALAIS SEAWAYS). With the replacement by NORMAN VOYAGER (ETRETAT), traffic has decreased.

But as you say, Brexit is likely to lead to queues for lorries, that is why trailers and short sea containers should have a bright future and Cherbourg is trying to attract them !

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1 minute ago, David Williams said:

But as you say, Brexit is likely to lead to queues for lorries, that is why trailers and short sea containers should have a bright future and Cherbourg is trying to attract them !

having attractive lines for freight does not prevent you from making Ropax. On the contrary! I fear that Brexit will not make life easier for passengers, either.

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3 hours ago, BigDW1946 said:

For us not in the know what is Ropax?

It tends to be more about the split between passenger facilities/accommodation and car decks (and their capacity) as an overall.

In the BF fleet I'd call Armorique, Barfleur, Cap Finistere, Galicia, Mont St Michel, Normandie all ro-paxes... the key being massive car decks capable of carrying a lot of rolling freight. Having a superstructure "cut off at the stern" does not necessarily imply it is a ropax but tends to be common feature.

I'd call Bretagne and Pont-Aven cruise ferries, but generally in my perception other ships generally classed as cruise ferries have capacity for all their passengers in cabins... so that's Pont-Aven covered but also former fleet member Val de Loire now part of DFDS' Newcastle pair. Bretagne is would be a cruise ferry, she certainly does not carry enough freight to be a ropax, but with a passenger capacity of around 2,000 and berths for just over half that, I'd be inclined to just call her a ferry; I'd even have doubted if I'd have called her a cruise ferry at the time she was built, yes on the Channel she was miles ahead of anything else there then but she is of similar vintage to the Olau Line twins (the ex-P&O Portsmouth ships, sisters to the DFDS pair) and the P&O twins currently on the Zeebrugge route who were and are still better from a passenger perspective as well as having much more invested into them during their lifetime.

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26 minutes ago, David Williams said:

But is there a market for just the freight part without drivers at Le Havre and Cherbourg, this could be using trailers like the Pelican or just containers.

I expect that rather depends on how many hauliers from the UK are allowed to operate in the EU and how many EU hauliers are allowed to operate in the UK come 1st January. At the present time things are not looking good. Maybe unaccompanied and container freight might we be the way we have to go from necessity.

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Maybe they can just get all the freight they need on the 2x Ouisterham ships, especially since the noises from BF is that there has been a collapse in passenger car traffic, concentrating everything on one route meaning they only need to staff Ouistreham, not Cherbourg and Le Havre too.

It seems that Connemara only ended up going to Cherbourg/Le Havre because she wouldn't fit in Ouistreham as it stands (? I'm sure I read something like that on here) and was probably cheaper to operate during lockdown when there was zero passenger traffic - hence no need for Normandie to be in service especially when MSM is a bigger freight carrier - whilst there is some passenger traffic now.

Reactivating Armorique after two months of layup to then operate as a freighter seems strange initially, especially since she can't carry any HGVs on deck 5 car deck so you'd think you'd want to take passenger cars to add to the loadings, but she's cheap to run and probably even cheaper without running any passenger facilities. But if they're concentrating all on Ouistreham which geographically by road isn't too much of a stretch from Le Havre, Cherbourg or St Malo - not ideal but not too far out of the way - then bringing Armorique back makes sense.

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3 minutes ago, Seashore said:

Maybe they can just get all the freight they need on the 2x Ouisterham ships, especially since the noises from BF is that there has been a collapse in passenger car traffic, concentrating everything on one route meaning they only need to staff Ouistreham, not Cherbourg and Le Havre too.

I think this is exactly it. BF's multitude of ports and ships is great for the passenger in normal times but even then it is vastly more than a rational, purely commercial operator would choose to offer. I imagine they could comfortably rationalise to Portsmouth and Plymouth in the UK and Ouistreham, St Malo and Roscoff in France with negligible impact on carryings and most likely a greatly positive impact on profitability. 

In the current situation, where the aim is just to survive, keeping it limited to just one UK - France port pair which can deal with all the traffic saves so many costs that it's hard to visualise an alternative. I know a lot don't believe this but a lot of what BF do normally is very focussed on the passenger and giving them options (and yes deterring competition is a useful by product). But at times like this the company simply has no option other than to look after themselves first for once.

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2 hours ago, Seashore said:

Maybe they can just get all the freight they need on the 2x Ouisterham ships, especially since the noises from BF is that there has been a collapse in passenger car traffic, concentrating everything on one route meaning they only need to staff Ouistreham, not Cherbourg and Le Havre too.

It seems that Connemara only ended up going to Cherbourg/Le Havre because she wouldn't fit in Ouistreham as it stands (? I'm sure I read something like that on here) and was probably cheaper to operate during lockdown when there was zero passenger traffic - hence no need for Normandie to be in service especially when MSM is a bigger freight carrier - whilst there is some passenger traffic now.

Reactivating Armorique after two months of layup to then operate as a freighter seems strange initially, especially since she can't carry any HGVs on deck 5 car deck so you'd think you'd want to take passenger cars to add to the loadings, but she's cheap to run and probably even cheaper without running any passenger facilities. But if they're concentrating all on Ouistreham which geographically by road isn't too much of a stretch from Le Havre, Cherbourg or St Malo - not ideal but not too far out of the way - then bringing Armorique back makes sense.

Since the berth work to accommodate Honfleur was completed all of the Visentini's and even Pont Aven are now capable of berthing in Ouistreham. The biggest downfall in regards to Connemara & Etretat is that they're not Roll on Roll off, they're stern access only plus we don't know if laying them up has any effect on their charter costs... looking at the latest results, Stena RoRo are generating a healthy income which in some way is offsetting their losses to their ferry income. 

With the collapse of passenger numbers collectively MSM & Normandie have the capacity to carry 200+ HGV'S - 606 per 24hr timetable.

Barfleur would be ideal for freight carriage but as you say Seashore, Armorique is cheaper to run due to being more fuel efficient.

Much of the freight which passes through Ouistreham is heading to Spain, Portugal and in some cases North Africa too, if this could focused more onto their Spanish sailings it would offer more lane metres on their Caen operation in order to consolidate the traffic heading to the logistic hubs in and around Normandy and further south around Le Mans.

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In the portsmouth local paper it says the cap is sailing but is going into a 3 month technically lay over from December.what does this mean? Iam booked on her end of January 2021 and and what I read there is no problems with her sailings up to now.stay safe

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20 minutes ago, nodwad said:

In the portsmouth local paper it says the cap is sailing but is going into a 3 month technically lay over from December.what does this mean? Iam booked on her end of January 2021 and and what I read there is no problems with her sailings up to now.stay safe

The last sailing for Cap Finistere is November 30th from Portsmouth to Santander, you will most likely be transferred onto Galicia or Pont-Aven.

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Cap Finistere, and the her various siblings, are hugely overpowered. That's where the "superfast" came from, it wasn't any technical marvel like an Incat or hovercraft, it's just pure brute force.

The early Superfast class of ships of which Cap Finistere is a member is stated as having 4x main engines running at 10,560Kw with combined power of 42,240Kw. I think I read somewhere that Stena de-rated the engines on their Belfast Superfasts down to about 32,000Kw but that's still a lot of power. Her freight capacity is 1,926 lane metres = 5,778 lane metres per week on 3x rotations per week.

The BF website shows Galacia as having 2x main engines running at 12,600Kw = 25,200Kw. As it's also been publicised by Stena that an E-Flexer can do 18 knots on one engine. For this she has 3,100 lane metres for freight = 6,200 lane metres per week on 2x rotations per week.

Which would you use? The shiny new ship that burns much less fuel, pays 2/3rds of the berthing fees and takes 7% more freight if that were needed? Or not when times are hard and haulage firms probably don't care much for a few more hours at sea?

No doubt "techincal lay up" for Cap Finistere means she's too expensive.

 

Of course there's also the question of what they will do with Pont-Aven in the equation. She is needed to go to Cork in the winter, keeping Plymouth-Roscoff open was never in the plan. Anyone fancy a sweepstake on what date in November or December the Pont-Aven gets laid up from?

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12 minutes ago, Seashore said:

Anyone fancy a sweepstake on what date in November or December the Pont-Aven gets laid up from?

There's always the chance of a Christmas cruise to Antwerp or Honfleur. Or if those aren't available due to quarantine restrictions, Gosport and Hayling Island. Ed. 

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Here are full details of the plans for the near future........

Andy

Necessary Changes, a message from our CEO

Dear All,

With a heavy heart, I write today to confirm that further necessary, and regrettable, changes must be made to our schedules for the coming months.

In the face of a terrible summer season and faced with weak forward demand for services this autumn, we simply must take further decisive action. This latest round of scheduled changes will be confirmed and implemented within the next week. The aim is to reduce costs as part of the company’s five-year recovery plan.

It follows decisions by governments to impose quarantine restrictions on those arriving from Spain, and more recently France. As you may have read in the press, this led to an immediate run on cancellations. Around 65,000 passengers have now cancelled reservations since quarantine measures were announced. 

We carried virtually no passenger traffic between the months of April and June, as the Covid-19 crisis hit. When we resumed, we had hoped to salvage 350,000 passengers from a summer season that would usually achieve more than double that number. 

The reality however is that we are unlikely to reach even 200,000 this summer. Passenger traffic accounts for around 75 percent of our income, so our bottom line has been hit hard. It’s why we must continue to take decisive action to reduce our costs to get us through the worst of this unprecedented crisis and to ensure we rebound strongly next year.

I should be clear that the company foundations are strong, even as we fight the worst crisis in our history. A robust five-year recovery plan is in place and the good news is that reservations for the 2021 season are strong. Around 100,000 more passengers have reserved a holiday next year, compared with those booking during the same period in 2019. 

However, in the short term more passengers will be affected by schedule changes. I apologise to all affected customers, and will do all we can to accommodate the disrputed onto alternative sailings.

The most significant change for September involves Brittany Ferries ‘Connemara’. Currently serving Cherbourg-Portsmouth and Le Havre-Portsmouth, she will be taken out of service entirely from 7 September. Regrettably this means the closure of the Cherbourg-Portsmouth and Le Havre-Portsmouth routes until further notice. 

This follows previously advised closure of the St-Malo Portsmouth route, with services terminating from 7 September. Cherbourg-Poole will also remain closed for the remainder of the year, having ceased operations at the end of March and not having resumed in June. 

The company’s busiest route, Caen-Portsmouth, remains unaffected for the next two months. Normandie and Mont St Michel will continue three daily departures as normal, with Armorique covering each ship’s technical stop in November and December respectively, running in freight-only mode.

I hope publication of the full fleet plan for ships and routes (below) will help answer any more of your questions on route changes:

CONNEMARA

Cherbourg - Portsmouth

Le Havre - Portsmouth

Laid up from 7 September, no further service on either route until further notice.

BRETAGNE

St Malo - Portsmouth

Laid up from 7 September, no further service until 22nd March.

ARMORIQUE

Roscoff - Plymouth

Laid up from 31 August.

From November, Armorique re-enters service on Caen - Portsmouth in freight-only mode, covering technical lay-overs of Normandie and Mont St Michel.

She will then be laid up between Jan 2021 and end of March 2021.

CAP FINISTÈRE

Bilbao - Portsmouth

Santander - Portsmouth

Service continues until a 3-month technical lay-over, beginning December.

PONT-AVEN

Portsmouth - Santander

Plymouth - Roscoff

Plymouth - Santander

Roscoff - Cork

From 10 September until end of October, three return trips per week on Roscoff to Plymouth.

Plus, one weekly Plymouth to Santander sailing per week.

And one weekly Roscoff to Cork sailing.

BARFLEUR

Poole - Cherbourg

No resumption of service in 2020.

ETRETAT

Laid up until further notice.

NORMANDIE

Caen - Portsmouth

Normal service (with technical lay-over in November) continues.

MONT ST MICHEL

Caen - Portsmouth

Normal service (with technical lay-over in December) continues.

KERRY

Roscoff - Rosslare

Rosslare - Bilbao

No Roscoff – Rosslare service from 1 September.

Rosslare – Bilbao continues as normal.

NORMANDIE EXPRESS

Cherbourg - Portsmouth

Fast craft seasonal summer service.

PELICAN

Bilbao - Poole (freight-only)

Normal freight-only service continues.

GALICIA

UK - Spain

Enters service in December 2020.

Again, with these changes, we will contact you if you are affected. It will take time, but we will be in touch.

These necessary changes are a very sad reflection of the times in which we live but they are also indicative of a company that knows that it must take decisive action to safeguard its future and ensure it is able to serve its people, communities and regions long into the future.

I, like many of you, look forward to that future with hope and confidence.

Yours

Christophe Mathieu

CEO Brittany Ferries

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Once Galicia enters service, I expect she will take over those sailings currently scheduled to be operated by the Pont-Aven, which will be rested until the March timetable comes into effect. Unless she’s drafted in to cover elsewhere of course, nothing’s fixed in the current climate! 

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So if the cap lay off was announced on Tuesday why have the customers booked on her not been advised about this?starting to get a bit worried about our crossing in January because we have a pet friendly cabin booked.just hope we are transferred over to Galicia but you never know.again loyal customers left in the dark by bf pr team,a bunch of 6 year olds could do better oops sorry I don't want to upset any 6 year olds out there.joking aside it gives you a feeling nobody knows what is going on you would of thought before announcing this lay off,they would of kept it quiet until customers were told about new travel arrangements instead of everyone been in limbo.stay safe

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25 minutes ago, nodwad said:

So if the cap lay off was announced on Tuesday why have the customers booked on her not been advised about this?

I don’t think anything has changed with CF, it was always planned to be off for most of December and January, restarting at the end of January. 

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29 minutes ago, nodwad said:

So if the cap lay off was announced on Tuesday why have the customers booked on her not been advised about this?starting to get a bit worried about our crossing in January because we have a pet friendly cabin booked.just hope we are transferred over to Galicia but you never know.again loyal customers left in the dark by bf pr team,a bunch of 6 year olds could do better oops sorry I don't want to upset any 6 year olds out there.joking aside it gives you a feeling nobody knows what is going on you would of thought before announcing this lay off,they would of kept it quiet until customers were told about new travel arrangements instead of everyone been in limbo.stay safe

You think, if there has been a change, that they should have got round all the thousands of passengers booked within 48 hours? Including you with a booking four months away?

Strikes me as somewhat unrealistic and rather unreasonable.

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7 minutes ago, hhvferry said:

You think, if there has been a change, that they should have got round all the thousands of passengers booked within 48 hours? Including you with a booking four months away?

Strikes me as somewhat unrealistic and rather unreasonable.

BF has consistently stated on social media that affected passengers will be dealt with in date order, as it should be. I have been fortunate through this that my Portsmouth-St Malo crossing in June and Cherbourg-Portsmouth crossing in July were booked through a tour operator so we didn't have to deal directly with BF. I have however had a couple of theatre/concert bookings cancelled, leaving me hundreds of pounds out of pocket; those took many weeks to be processed and I didn't expect an immediate response when I learned of the cancellation.

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