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France agrees 30 million euros of aid for ferry companies


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France agrees 30 million euros of aid for ferry companies

PARIS (Reuters) - The French government will reimburse 30 million euros (£27 million) in payroll costs to French ferry companies hit by the coronavirus crisis and Brexit, Prime Minister Jean Castex told parliament.

Shipping firms have suffered from lower traffic to and from Britain due to quarantine measures and uncertainty around Britain’s exit from the European union.

“We have decided to reimburse all of Brittany Ferries’ payroll costs for the 2021 financial year. This represents a commitment of around 15 million euros,” Castex said, adding that an equivalent amount would be offered to other ferry companies.

 

https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-france-aid/france-agrees-30-million-euros-of-aid-for-ferry-companies-idUKKBN2662CF?il=0

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A clarification from Nigel Wonnacott, Group Head of External Communications for BF:

Quote

Cash injection:

In June we secured a €117m loan from French banks, which we must re-pay over five years. Clearly this helps us with cash-flow in a year where we will have carried only a quarter of the passengers expected over the summer (200,000 v 800,000). In total we expect to lose around €250m of normal turnover for the financial year. That in turn will leave us with a loss of around €100m. But to be clear, the 117 million is a loan; it is not state aid.

Cost reduction:

We been working on a plan to cut costs, internally at Brittany Ferries, in partnership with the regions and in terms of the “social costs” we must pay to government for our sailors, which are not levied by countries like Denmark and Italy on their domestic shipping industries. Our cost reduction plan must last five years, because this corresponds with the period of loan repayment (above). But yesterday’s announcement from French government was for a single year’s commitment to “net wage”. Clearly this is good news because it is – at least – something. But we need a five-year commitment to cost reduction (internally, from the regions and from the French government) to secure the company’s future.

 

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20 minutes ago, Jim said:

Our cost reduction plan must last five years,

As my former dentist (now enjoying his retirement on the golf course) used to tell me, France is still the world's premier unofficially communist nation. Ed. 

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I noted Nigel's bull in a china shop response on twitter as well.

28 minutes ago, Jim said:

because it is – at least – something.

I think that a more graceful response to the French state is needed by their PR team, BF have said for a while that they need 45 Million euros a year for 5 years - 15 from the state, 15 from the regions and 15 from efficiencies.

BF Management conducted an incredibly efficient political campaign to get some very useful money that will help for the next year which they should be grateful for.

The next stage is for us as customers to see what the efficiencies bring, I suspect that crewing levels and service will move closer to the Galicia and that quality restaurants will be a thing of the past - maybe replaced by duty free shops ! If we continue to have 90 minute checkins, long delays to get off and poor services on board the appeal of some routes will disappear.

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3 minutes ago, David Williams said:

At least your favourite ship has a planned restart date, NEX sadly does not !

She’ll be ok, pretty sure of it!!  Barfy has had a couple of restart dates that were timetabled, both have been scratched, so it is 50/50 whether her next start date will see her reappear in Poole.  Both will be fine.

Edited by Khaines
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Service / staffing levels will reduce Cap Fin a couple of weeks ago was not great.

The main factor though will be quarantine. If it remains and I cannot see it going away any time soon then based on what we have seen ( two British Bikes and one car in fourteen days in Northern Spain) the customers will not be there to hold onto. Hope I am wrong

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It certainly doesn’t bode well for the companies future if their staffing level doesn’t provide the level of service that the price they are charging demands , then you have the constant stream of unhappy customers on social media which doesn’t seem to be being handled as well as it used but I suppose that’s down to staffing as well.

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4 hours ago, neilcvx said:

It certainly doesn’t bode well for the companies future if their staffing level doesn’t provide the level of service that the price they are charging demands , then you have the constant stream of unhappy customers on social media which doesn’t seem to be being handled as well as it used but I suppose that’s down to staffing as well.

As a  BF customer and not a maritime law expert.

But do not they have to have a legally required Crew/passenger ratiio for safety reasons?  In the PoB days I seem to remember that their much larger entertainment team counted as crew enabling them to reduce numbers in other higher paid staff number areas - BUT may be wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

r tiod?

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13 minutes ago, colinschandler said:

As a  BF customer and not a maritime law expert.

But do not they have to have a legally required Crew/passenger ratiio for safety reasons?  In the PoB days I seem to remember that their much larger entertainment team counted as crew enabling them to reduce numbers in other higher paid staff number areas - BUT may be wrong.

I think you're right... But... If the demand is lower and you're carrying less passengers then you can make do with less crew.

I seem to recall in the days of P&O Portsmouth there were various 'modes' of operation (three on the Olau twins), each with an associated number of passengers.

There's an argument to be made that over the course of a summer it would be cheaper for an operator to run with less staff, and therefore lower capacity, even if it meant a relatively small number of passengers couldn't get their preferred sailing on busier days.

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Absolutely Roger, in her early years doing up to 2 round trips per day she was able to carry 1200 passengers with a crew of almost 100. That was progressively cut to 900 and more recently around 400+ with a crew of around 50. But it's allowed the route to remain profitable, or at least it was when running. I was in the UK last weekend and was on Normandie both ways, plenty of helpful staff on the car decks but once you leave port she becomes a ghost ship, that's unfortunately how it is at the moment.

Maybe it's just me but the whingers on social media would still be whinging whatever the situation, ship too busy/noisy with staff rushed off their feet etc etc. At least BF are running some sort of a service albeit with a limited but safe onboard experience, safe being the key word. You can eat, drink, relax in a cabin, what more do you want?

Chris

 

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My primary reason for travelling by BF is that it minimises my driving time and distance at both ends. If they had to temporarily close the poshnosh restuarants, the shops, the bar, and did away with the "entertainment" I would still find it a more congenial mode of transport than slogging round the M25, sitting in a subterranean tin can for half an hour and then slogging for five hours down the motorway. It is however slightly perverse that doing it that way takes pretty much the same time as going by BF ...

Edited by veryoldbear
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We will see what happens next year, BF claim that historically they cross subsidise, ie Summer sailings subsidise winter ones, car passengers subsidises foot (an interesting argument).

They have now slashed winter routes and foot passengers, I am sure that they are also running the slide rule over all of the onboard activities to make sure that each pay their own way (subject to needing crew anyway  for safety reasons).

I use BF for the reduced driving distance and the quality sit down restaurant, not the time saving. The tunnel is far quicker for me - my best time on the tunnel was 6 hours between my flat in Calvados and my home in West London, I generally take 11-12 hours by ferry. The tunnel is often cheaper (short breaks, more than 2 passengers, large car/van)

ps mind you if the solution is to cut passenger numbers and thus staff, we might see an end to coach loads of French school kids running along the MSM corridors.

Edited by David Williams
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In "normal" times, shouldn't a posh restaurant cover its own costs, i.e. take enough income to justify the extra staff across the annual sailing pattern?

I can understand quandaries about keeping them going now but I assume BF are starting from that baseline, otherwise the non-posh restaurant people seem to be subsidising the others!

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4 minutes ago, VikingVoyager said:

otherwise the non-posh restaurant people seem to be subsidising the others!

I suspect that it does , however the ships logic is a bit strange as they need the staff for safety reasons !

On the Caen route, the decent restaurant is not open for that many hours a day.

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On 16/09/2020 at 13:38, neilcvx said:

I see Nigel has resorted to blocking loyal customers on Twitter rather than clarifying things to them , won’t stop me sailing with them but disappointing.

I have just got blocked today on Twitter by BF and I haven't been tweeting anything negative !

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If that is true then it suggests that BF are indirectly seeking to censor this site. Not a good look. If criticism s felt to be unjustified then they are surely welcome to put their side of the story on here where the membership is pretty reasonable and open minded.

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Maybe Nigel is as confused as I am about some of the content and opinions on this site, which doesn't always seem consistent with a site entitled bfenthusiasts. Perhaps I don't understand the fundemental intent of this site. The only good thing about twitter and social media in general, is the retained right not to have to listen.

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Twitter has been the only effective way to get through to BF to manage bookings for some months, and I would not be surprised if they are trying to stop being used as a general forum. Don't forget the BF staff have to wade through all the tweats to filter out the ones that actually need an action, and those that are just gripes and complaints.

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24 minutes ago, GFB said:

Maybe Nigel is as confused as I am about some of the content and opinions on this site, which doesn't always seem consistent with a site entitled bfenthusiasts. Perhaps I don't understand the fundemental intent of this site. The only good thing about twitter and social media in general, is the retained right not to have to listen.

By definition, "enthusiasts" refers to people who are interested in a subject. As such, they'll have this interest and their own views - but that doesn't mean it always has to be positive.

 

 

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