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First Spain, now France. Is this the death knell for BF?


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3 hours ago, Paully said:

I agree Millsy..What did shock me though was the fact that their share of freight, a must for any shipping company, is only about 15% of their volume. The overwhelming part of their business plan being reliant on passenger traffic from the UK. They need to woo a lot more freight..I`ve said before that I think that market certainly to France has declined over the years and BF are at the mercy of a fickle market. Thats exactly what Union Castle Line found when the 747 came along and ate their lunch all those years ago.

I doubt that can be done Paully, the future will see far less heavy goods vehicles on the French roads heading to French channel ports. For the EU the future is all about inter modal trains and ships & the bulk being unaccompanied freight.

It's the biggest shift in freight logistics since containerisation in the 1960's.  

Also nearly 80% of the goods heading through the channel ports aren't for French markets.

What will diminish at the ports of Ouistreham and to a lesser extent at Cherbourg will be carried by the Spanish sailing ships, hence why BF want the lane metre volumes offered by the E-Flexers.

HGV's using the Land Bridge sailings from Ireland will also drop off too which is why we're seeing the large investment at Rosslare, why BF want their presence felt and why I.F wanted WBY sailing from Dublin.

The Changes at Cork/Ringaskiddy speak volumes. Their focus is now on dedicated freight services. The linkspan used for passenger ferries is very much secondary to their future. Yes they'll make the right political noises but even when Tivoli was in it's survey stage no thought was given to the terminal or passenger services.

The future for HGV ferry traffic in the U.K is on the routes heading East to West which is why HMG are spending a fortune widening the A roads such as the A66.

Another factor to consider are the ports BF ships sail to and from. Only Portsmouth & Cherbourg can handle the newer larger ships but again there are still limits. For instance no channel port could berth the Harwich Stena's which have 8 decks for freight. BF can't offer the volume discounts.

Take a look at the history of LD Lines. Louis Dreyfus Armateurs are very successful in sea borne transport. They looked at passenger traffic and failed as it's not really what they do.

Brittany Ferries are passenger carriers who augment their income by offering freight services.

 

 

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Brittany Ferries has sent BFE the following statement, in response to some of the recent media speculation: .

What a great statement and hopefully the prophets of doom will sleep easier tonight. As some of you are aware I'm in a business that relys heavily on ferry companies bringing passengers over to France

You can't magic up freight demand for north western France out of nothing, what a strange view of the world. It can be teased away from the tunnel to some degree but the fact of the travel patterns in

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5 minutes ago, jonno said:

For the EU the future is all about inter modal trains and ships & the bulk being unaccompanied freight

And the barriers that Brexit introduces and the restrictions on UK drivers in Europe will only accelerate this trend

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2 minutes ago, David Williams said:

And the barriers that Brexit introduces and the restrictions on UK drivers in Europe will only accelerate this trend

Leave it out, Brexit has nothing to do with it...

It's all about emissions and road funding costs. Toll road owners and operators in France have predicted a 50% - 75% increase in fees if the trend continues, for an HGV heading from Bordeaux to the logistics hubs around Paris that could be as much as €150 one way.  There's now talk of some of the heavier used routes nationales having tolls too, parts of the A84 from Caen to Rennes, A20 north of Brives la Gaillarde & parts of the A75.

We see something similar  now in the U.K. 80% of motorway speed restrictions we see flashing on overhead gantries are used to lower emissions and noise pollution.

 

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6 minutes ago, jonno said:

Leave it out, Brexit has nothing to do with it..

My point was factual, not political. The new processes will lead to increased checks at or near ports which will cost more for companies if a driver is involved, in addition the likely restrictions on owner operators will make it less viable to use them as they won’t be able to get as many back loads, the likely integration of the customs agent role into the freight business will also reduce the attraction of small operators.

Thus I believe that this will accelerate the movement away from accompanied freight, the issues you raised exist with or without brexit, however brexit adds some more. As I said, that is not intended to be political in any way.

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6 hours ago, hhvferry said:

The fundamental difference here is that BF is viewed as a public service rather than a private operator which must make profits or achieve industry standard load factors.

If your starting point is that every decision must be commercial than yes BF's strategic decisions will often seem odd. But that would be to apply a fundamentally wrong, rather Anglo-centric lens through which to view them. The 'French tax payer', fortunately, takes a very different view of the social and economic benefits of a ferry operator bringing tourists to their country. 

Well fine it may be an anglo-centric view but by the same token if one of the French taxpayers drove past the CFT in say February and saw the tiny knot of cars waiting to cross they might ask whether the public were being super-served. 

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1 hour ago, Andy said:

sauvonslabrittany.bzh 

Local councillors in Brittany have launched a petition asking the state to help Brittany Ferries through its 'temporary crisis'.
 

Also just spotted this one. Lets all sign the petition, currently signed by 11 mayors and 2 departmental councillors who call on the French state to"intervene without delay to support this flower of our Breton economy". If you open the link in Chrome you should be able to translate the post into English I guess if you are not domiciled in France or have a property there you could put your commune as Roscoff. Cherbourg, Caen or Le Harve!

 

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They will be giving back the money which BF will pay in social security contributions for the financial year 2020-2021. Therefore it's more of a discount than a subsidy or grant but if the crews are still furloughed then I guess it's extra cash for the company. Such contributions generally equate to around 80% of the payroll so gives some idea of the company's staffing costs for the year. That will probably only concern full time staff however and not seasonal crew. Ed. 

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Returning on the Cap just now. The boat is seems basically full took forever to load. We are down on deck one for the first time ever. There is even an artic sticking out the back of deck 5 (never seen this before) It may be a one off but the numbers for Spain seem to be holding up or BF is managing to transfer traffic from other crossings to fill the boat. Small delay leaving then watched over by a tug as we left the harbor  possible problem with the rear thruster? 

Social distancing is fine but as somebody said elsewhere staff are thin on the ground. Tables do not seem to be cleaned after use (unlike in Spain) if you are concerned bring your own spray and paper towel. In fact I would advise it. Passengers do seem to be spending more time in their cabins but there are no restrictions where you can or cannot sit.

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What is the likelihood do you reckon, that the France quarantine period will end before November 1st, allowing an 'isolation free' return from a daytrip to Roscoff on the Pont? Slim, or none?

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17 minutes ago, hf_uk said:

What is the likelihood do you reckon, that the France quarantine period will end before November 1st, allowing an 'isolation free' return from a daytrip to Roscoff on the Pont? Slim, or none?

Slim - as anything is possible but is highly unlikely.

There must also be a strong chance that France will bring in Quarantine for us.

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27 minutes ago, hf_uk said:

What is the likelihood do you reckon, that the France quarantine period will end before November 1st, allowing an 'isolation free' return from a daytrip to Roscoff on the Pont? Slim, or none?

I would think absolutely zero. We are planning a 9 day trip to put our house into hibernation until March (hopefully!), out Friday 16th back Sunday 25th and my big concern is that France may have brought in a quarantine on arrival by then.

If i were you i would book your trip at the last minute and take the risk, I am sure that there will be availability but limited choice of cabins which are mandatory. Reserved seats are showing as "Sold Out" on the website, BF speak for "not an option". The Tuesday rotation would give you 12hrs in France.

It is even possible of course that the UK could be on full lockdown by then anyway

Sorry David, was typing my reply at same time as you!

Edited by colinschandler
Apology for duplicating reply
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6 minutes ago, colinschandler said:

We are planning a 9 day trip to put our house into hibernation until March (hopefully!), out Friday 16th back Sunday 25th and my big concern is that France may have brought in a quarantine on arrival by then

We are currently planning on going to our flat between 5-14 October & French Quarantine is our main worry. I have already put English Quarantine in my diary. Hopefully even if France have quarantine they will allow essential shopping (food and wine) and exercise (walk along the seafront) and we will still go.

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20 minutes ago, David Williams said:

We are currently planning on going to our flat between 5-14 October & French Quarantine is our main worry. I have already put English Quarantine in my diary. Hopefully even if France have quarantine they will allow essential shopping (food and wine) and exercise (walk along the seafront) and we will still go.

So will we. Worst case is that they won't allow us to go back to UK during their quarantine. We could delay to last PA of the year on the 28th but that's only 13 days, it would than be MA or NO on the 30th from Caen BUT a road journey of 414 miles instead of 48!

Chris seems to think that we might be able to get away with it as a French Property owner and registered for Taxe Fonciere and Taxe Habitation.

Certainly need to do some shopping for wine and food - in that order!

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10 minutes ago, Cabin-boy said:

The good news is that this year should be the last time you ever have to pay this tax. And it should be a greatly reduced amount this year too. Ed. 

I am sure they will get the money some other way - what about the TV license, that comes on the same bill as the Taxe Habitation ?

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14 minutes ago, David Williams said:

what about the TV license,

I got it removed from my bill , told them I was only there for a limited time each year and had no need for a TV .

Edited by Chef
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2 minutes ago, Chef said:

I got it removed from my bill , told them I was only there for a limited time each year and had no need for a TV .

Trouble is that I have a TV and even though I only use it with my Sky dish or to stream stuff from my UK box, I believe that it technically counts. I also try and watch the news in French !

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35 minutes ago, David Williams said:

Trouble is that I have a TV and even though I only use it with my Sky dish or to stream stuff from my UK box, I believe that it technically counts. I also try and watch the news in French !

A license is only required to watch LIVE (broadcast) TV. Even terrestrial catch-up does not require a license. (technically).

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Still no serious word of quarantine being imposed on UK arrivals. If there is a massive rise in infections in UK it may happen, but otherwise I think the French government are trying to work in approximate harmony with other countries, most of whom are in very similar scenarios.

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France has come up with a new traffic light system to indicate the spread of the virus in each department. The already had green, orange and red levels. Due to major outbreaks in some cities they've now invented two new levels called, as I understand it, 'big red' and 'scarlet'. None of the cities yet qualifies for the highest rating.

I also understand that there are no plans for local lockdowns to be imposed as they are aware of the economic damage that will cause. They seem to prefer changing the closing times for bars and restaurants and restrictions on gatherings. 

Ed. 

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