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Andy

2009 Results

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2008/2009 Brittany Ferries Results

 

Passengers 2,340,000 passengers (down 5% against industry average of 8.4% decrease).

 

Freight traffic 182,000 (down 17% against an industry average of 16.3%).

 

Full details, including a route by route comparison, can be viewed here.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

It's a shame the two Santander routes are grouped together, it would have been interesting to see which of the two routes carried the most passengers, and if the 10.3% drop in passengers was directly attributed to the Portsmouth route. Having said that the route is returning again next year.

 

Passenger traffic Roscoff route has remained the same for 2009 despite the introduction of the Armorique... and the freight volume decreased by almost 15%, despite having the larger capacity. Surprised at the near identical carryings on the St Malo route.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

It's a shame the two Santander routes are grouped together, it would have been interesting to see which of the two routes carried the most passengers, and if the 10.3% drop in passengers was directly attributed to the Portsmouth route. Having said that the route is returning again next year.

 

Passenger traffic Roscoff route has remained the same for 2009 despite the introduction of the Armorique... and the freight volume decreased by almost 15%, despite having the larger capacity. Surprised at the near identical carryings on the St Malo route.

 

Could it be that because there is only one sailing each way per 24 hours and the demand for crossings is continually there? It always seems to be well supported when I travel that way.

 

Not diluted like for instance Caen-Portsmouth route, One crossing can be busy and the next crossing a lot less busy.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

The traffic results for October 2009 have now been published in the December 2009 issue of "Cruise & Ferry Info" (CFI) from Halmstad, Sweden, and they make very interesting reading. There has been a disastrous slump in freight between Poole and Cherbourg, down 44% over the equivalent period last year. In contrast business between Poole and Santander is decidedly up, 63% up, in fact, over the equivalent period last year. Indeed the actual number of trailers conveyed between Poole and Santander in the month of October this year was just over 1,000. The contrast between the French and Spanish routes out of Poole has merited a comment by the magazine: "Brittany Ferries' Cherbourg-Poole is suffering more than other Channel routes in trailer traffic. No wonder then that the service Poole-Santander is stepping up to two times weekly, with freight really on the increase. On just 13 trips, it carries one third of the Cherbourg service despite over a ten-times more trips there." Bearing in mind CFI publishes statistics from ferry routes all over Europe, to single out Poole for special mention is of significance.

 

I would say the slump in Poole-Cherbourg freight traffic cannot be explained solely in terms of the economic downturn. Other routes are up such as Portsmouth-Le Havre and P&O between Dover and Calais. I fear the absence of BARFLEUR for the better part of three months at the beginning of this year and COTENTIN now away on its Spanish service has something to do with it. Truckers have gone elsewhere and have not come back. How Cherbourg is going to react to all this remains to be seen. After all a slump at Poole is a slump at Cherbourg as well. Indeed the Cherbourg port website at www.port-cherbourg.com indicates a cumulative 27% drop in freight traffic through the port by the end of October 2009. Louis Dreyfus Armateurs cannot be best pleased by the Celtic Link Ferries fiasco on the Portsmouth route. Maybe Pierre Gehanne will reconsider the matter of LD Lines starting their own ferry service from Cherbourg to the English South Coast if freight drops even further. It would be very interesting to see what the reaction of the Poole Harbour Commissioners (PHC) would be if LD sought to run alongside BF into Poole. If the PHC said "no", would LD kick up a fuss with the Ports Division of the Department for Transport or with the Competition Commission? LDA have given themselves three years in which to turn round the fortunes of Cherbourg as a ferry port so cutting it rough might be worthwhile.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

I think LD could do worse than start a Portsmouth-Cherbourg route as that did have 3 sailings a day 7 days a week undeer P&O and was bust whenever I was on board. Cherbourg itself as a down has suffered as the biggest dept store has now closed after several years struggling. There has been too much messing around with services and inconsistencys that people have moved elsewhere.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

I think LD could do worse than start a Portsmouth-Cherbourg route as that did have 3 sailings a day 7 days a week undeer P&O and was bust whenever I was on board. Cherbourg itself as a down has suffered as the biggest dept store has now closed after several years struggling. There has been too much messing around with services and inconsistencys that people have moved elsewhere.

 

One thing that can be said is that (refits excepted) LD have done bloody well on the POLH route, despite being a one-ship service, AND the interminable 12-hr layover in Havre, it's still more-or-less year round. Obviously there wasn't a market for a two-ship service (hence the sub-charter of "Voyager" to the biggest laugh since KMW Seaways). It'll be interesting to see figures for next year when "Arrow" arrives.

 

POCH was clearly making losses, hence the sale of "Cherbourg" and "Hampshire", replacing the three-a-day with "POC 3" (two returns daily) on a really nasty schdule (at least from the UK), so it's little wonder that it was axed. For those travelling to W/SW/S France, Cherbourg isn't the best place to be dropped, especially given the Autoroute access from Caen, and looking even further afield, Calais/Boulogne.

 

BF seem to have got the market right - a proper freight vessel and a Ro-Pax, and although Poole's pretty much useless to me, I'd guess that it's very handy for those heading from Devon/Cornwall/South Wales - knocking off the extra 50-odd miles to Portsmouth

 

One has to bear in mind that wallets are not opening much this year, and when the recession finally abates, we'll probably see an upturn on all routes. At least, we hope!

 

M

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Re: 2009 Results

 

The traffic results for October 2009 have now been published in the December 2009 issue of "Cruise & Ferry Info" (CFI) from Halmstad, Sweden, and they make very interesting reading. There has been a disastrous slump in freight between Poole and Cherbourg, down 44% over the equivalent period last year. In contrast business between Poole and Santander is decidedly up, 63% up, in fact, over the equivalent period last year. Indeed the actual number of trailers conveyed between Poole and Santander in the month of October this year was just over 1,000. The contrast between the French and Spanish routes out of Poole has merited a comment by the magazine: "Brittany Ferries' Cherbourg-Poole is suffering more than other Channel routes in trailer traffic. No wonder then that the service Poole-Santander is stepping up to two times weekly, with freight really on the increase. On just 13 trips, it carries one third of the Cherbourg service despite over a ten-times more trips there." Bearing in mind CFI publishes statistics from ferry routes all over Europe, to single out Poole for special mention is of significance.

 

I would say the slump in Poole-Cherbourg freight traffic cannot be explained solely in terms of the economic downturn. Other routes are up such as Portsmouth-Le Havre and P&O between Dover and Calais. I fear the absence of BARFLEUR for the better part of three months at the beginning of this year and COTENTIN now away on its Spanish service has something to do with it. Truckers have gone elsewhere and have not come back. How Cherbourg is going to react to all this remains to be seen. After all a slump at Poole is a slump at Cherbourg as well. Indeed the Cherbourg port website at www.port-cherbourg.com indicates a cumulative 27% drop in freight traffic through the port by the end of October 2009. Louis Dreyfus Armateurs cannot be best pleased by the Celtic Link Ferries fiasco on the Portsmouth route. Maybe Pierre Gehanne will reconsider the matter of LD Lines starting their own ferry service from Cherbourg to the English South Coast if freight drops even further. It would be very interesting to see what the reaction of the Poole Harbour Commissioners (PHC) would be if LD sought to run alongside BF into Poole. If the PHC said "no", would LD kick up a fuss with the Ports Division of the Department for Transport or with the Competition Commission? LDA have given themselves three years in which to turn round the fortunes of Cherbourg as a ferry port so cutting it rough might be worthwhile.

 

Both Brittany Ferries and LD have clearly stated that there is insufficient traffic to warrant 2 operators and the current down turn, part of which will appear worse for Oct given some drift of traffic to CL, gives good and clear evidence of this. Also, LD are bound to be up % wise given more departures than the previous year and with traffic generally down then some of that traffic will have been pulled from BF. Cherbourg problem remains not one of operators but that the A84 now by-passes the penninsular and the new road imnprovement to join the same road may help but I'm not so sure.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

Both Brittany Ferries and LD have clearly stated that there is insufficient traffic to warrant 2 operators and the current down turn, part of which will appear worse for Oct given some drift of traffic to CL, gives good and clear evidence of this. Also, LD are bound to be up % wise given more departures than the previous year and with traffic generally down then some of that traffic will have been pulled from BF. Cherbourg problem remains not one of operators but that the A84 now by-passes the penninsular and the new road imnprovement to join the same road may help but I'm not so sure.

 

Like Poole's "second harbour crossing", the dual carriageway (with the characteristics of a motorway, as the French put it) south from Cherbourg to the A84 doesn't just benefit ferry traffic; they are both designed to benefit the local communities as well. The second harbour crossing is designed to link the two halves of Poole more effectively than the existing, out-of-date, bridge. In France the road, which is well on the way to completion, is designed to link the north of the Manche department with the south. If all goes according to plan, the two should both be fully complete sometime in 2011 -- and then we'll see.

 

I daresay BF and LD have stated there is room for only one operator to England from Cherbourg. But what is the potential? Does anyone know? Has anyone tried to find out? I quite agree with the economic downturn, the unfavourable exchange rate between the pound sterling and the euro, and the abolition of duty free this isn't the best time to be trying to find out in relation to carpax. But we're talking of freight, which has always done very well out of Poole -- until, that is, this year when it seems to have nosedived. Why? And what will the market be like for all categories of business when the new Poole Bridge and the new Cherbourg road come on stream in a year or two's time?

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Re: 2009 Results

 

I honestly think the loadings CL took are a pretty accurate representation of the demand for another operator to Cherbourg at the moment.

The ports traffic has consistantly declined pretty much every year for the past 10 years. BF have been operating the maximum amount of crossings they can without losing money. I can't see anyone (sensible) taking the risk on Cherbourg over the next few years, the whole port seems to be in terminal decline, its position seems to be quite unfavourable for many travellers/hauliers.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

Perhaps it's time to accept that Cherbourg is in terminal decline, with driver's down time more regulated and controlled now the extra couple of hours drive up the Cotentin penisular could be better spent on the ship from Caen or Le Havre? Unless you're delivering within the Cotentin Penisular then Caen/Le Havre makes more sense, the same as unless you're delivering to Western Brittany are you likely to use Roscoff? Hawser Trunnion doesn't mention the figures for Plymouth/Roscoff where the downtime is always greater than Poole/Cherbourg? Especially as no ships at all whereas Poole/Cherbourg maintains Cotentin.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

Actually Plymouth-Roscoff didn't do that badly in October of this year according to the CFI statistics. 641 trucks were conveyed representing an increase of 4% over the equivalent period last year. In fact Plymouth-Roscoff did better than Poole-Cherbourg in terms of the actual numbers conveyed in all the main categories except trailers -- and the way things are going they'll be evens stephens here before long, provided BF put a ship on the route!

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Re: 2009 Results

 

Actually Plymouth-Roscoff didn't do that badly in October of this year according to the CFI statistics. 641 trucks were conveyed representing an increase of 4% over the equivalent period last year. In fact Plymouth-Roscoff did better than Poole-Cherbourg in terms of the actual numbers conveyed in all the main categories except trailers -- and the way things are going they'll be evens stephens here before long, provided BF put a ship on the route!

 

It was freight you highlighted when considering the downturn in Poole-Cherbourg. Also, as you suggest Plymouth doesn't have a ship at all whereas Cherbourg at least will have, and has had Cotentin.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

Perhaps Poole-Cherbourg could either end up being cut and transferred to Portsmouth or just Freight service to Cherbourg and Santander. There has obviously been some actions by BF that have caused this problem and those mentioned about no service for some months last year and the messing around must be a factor.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

I'm surprised ABP at Plymouth put up with having no service to France out of season. I suppose this is because there is no direct competition. Would things be different if there was, e.g. a service between Falmouth and Brest run by a competing operator?

 

Cherbourg can't be that bad. BF does use the port. Indeed as of this posting, both ARMORIQUE and PONT AVEN are there. I think the essential problem is that BF are to too great an extent competing with themselves. If they reinforce one route it is to the detriment of another route. I was once told on good authority that when Portsmouth-St Malo was a two ship service it did very well -- but at the expense of Portsmouth-Caen. Their corporate strategy is to "cover" any potentially competing route and keep out the opposition. Hence Poole-Cherbourg and Portsmouth-Cherbourg when BF would really like Portsmouth-Caen to be the main event. The complicating factor is that the ports are also business entities which have to justify their own existences. This is especially so at Cherbourg where the co-port operator is also the parent company of a competing ferry company. This may explain why the Poole-Cherbourg service doesn't close out of season. Were it to do so with a concomitant drop in business, as I have suggested earlier, Pierre Gehanne and his executives might well look again at the idea of an LD Lines service from Cherbourg to the English South Coast. I would suggest there is room for only one operator on the section of the English Channel so long as that operator is resourcing the service to the full extent of its potential. Whether this now the case is a moot point.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

Perhaps it's time to accept that Cherbourg is in terminal decline, with driver's down time more regulated and controlled now the extra couple of hours drive up the Cotentin penisular could be better spent on the ship from Caen or Le Havre? Unless you're delivering within the Cotentin Penisular then Caen/Le Havre makes more sense, the same as unless you're delivering to Western Brittany are you likely to use Roscoff? Hawser Trunnion doesn't mention the figures for Plymouth/Roscoff where the downtime is always greater than Poole/Cherbourg? Especially as no ships at all whereas Poole/Cherbourg maintains Cotentin.

 

I hope it is not in terminal decline. We travel at least twice a month from Cheshire to Villedieu just off the A84. It takes 30 minutes longer from Cherbourg than Caen, and the time on the UK side from Cheshire to Poole or Portsmouth is not a great difference. So for us it increases our options when booking as we have no great preference for either route. Also Dinard and St Malo are an hour or so away, even more options there.

 

Sometimes we travel out from Poole on the overnighter because we have more time to get to the UK port as it leaves over an hour later, and also we can be in Villedieu sooner the following morning than taking the longer Caen crossing.

 

I think I would be more worried for Poole than Cherbourg as the other port operations seem to be doing OK in Cherbourg and will be imcreased further with the nuclear trade. Also I think there will be an increase in Irish Sea traffic with Celtic, Irish and LD selling the route, they are also expecting an increase in cruise ship visits.

 

I can not see a "Plan B" for Poole at the moment. But I hope there is one.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

The decline in freight Poole-Cherbourg does at the outset appear worrying, but the route still carried more than 50,000 freight units - much fewer admittedly than the main Ports-Caen route (where there is much greater capacity / demand anyway) but still many more than other BF routes.

There were fewer sailings this year Poole-Cherbourg than normal anyway, and it has been only fairly recently that the Barfleur has increased its number of sailings to two most days in each direction.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

Seems to me that Portsmouth Caen has a lot of plus points for commercial customers. Maybe boring, but reliable and virtually never cancelled. A lot of these other routes seem to be all over the place which can't be good for business planning.

 

Portsmouth St Malo is also pretty reliable but maybe a bit too far west for some customers and more passenger orientated.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

I think it is worth remembering that 15 years ago there were 3 operators from Cherbourg to southern England: Truckline to Poole, Stena to Southampton and P&O to Portsmouth. Since then Truckline has rebranded as BF, Stena has long since pulled out, P&O pulled out, BF tried to make Cherbourg-Portsmouth work in addition to (and to the detriment of) Cherbourg-Poole and concluded anything other than a summer season fastcraft service was not viable.

 

The market has changed. Caen has grown and Cherbourg has declined despite Cherbourg being an established port long before Caen opened for business in 1986. I find it very hard to see how Cherbourg's fortunes can be revived, especially if even Cherbourg-Poole is now in decline.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

I hope it is not in terminal decline. We travel at least twice a month from Cheshire to Villedieu just off the A84. It takes 30 minutes longer from Cherbourg than Caen, and the time on the UK side from Cheshire to Poole or Portsmouth is not a great difference. So for us it increases our options when booking as we have no great preference for either route. Also Dinard and St Malo are an hour or so away, even more options there.

 

Sometimes we travel out from Poole on the overnighter because we have more time to get to the UK port as it leaves over an hour later, and also we can be in Villedieu sooner the following morning than taking the longer Caen crossing.

 

I think I would be more worried for Poole than Cherbourg as the other port operations seem to be doing OK in Cherbourg and will be imcreased further with the nuclear trade. Also I think there will be an increase in Irish Sea traffic with Celtic, Irish and LD selling the route, they are also expecting an increase in cruise ship visits.

 

I can not see a "Plan B" for Poole at the moment. But I hope there is one.

 

We also make frequent trips to Villedieu, from Dorset. Poole-Cherbourg is definitely our preferred route, although we do sometimes travel Portsmouth to Ouistreham or St. Malo. Surely next year's timetable for Barfleur, with two return sailings most days, doesn't seem to indicate that BF are expecting a downturn?

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Re: 2009 Results

 

but why has Cherbourg diclined when the port is a port rather than the Caen route where it is really a linkspan by a car park.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

but why has Cherbourg diclined when the port is a port rather than the Caen route where it is really a linkspan by a car park.

 

 

More convienient to get to?

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Re: 2009 Results

 

but why has Cherbourg diclined when the port is a port rather than the Caen route where it is really a linkspan by a car park.

 

For exactly that reason, a port just for BF with plenty of room to park wagons that are waiting and a very easy port to keep secure.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

but why has Cherbourg diclined when the port is a port rather than the Caen route where it is really a linkspan by a car park.

 

I wouldn't have said it has anything to do with the merits and demerits of the ports themselves, but the road links. Caen has had for a number of years fast, efficient motorways heading east towards Rouen and Paris and west towards Rennes and all points south west. Cherbourg, by comparison has had a dual-carriageway to Caen, making it a sensible port if heading to points east of Cherbourg when starting out from Ireland or Poole, but the roads down the Cotentin peninsula towards Rennes have been notoriously poor for many years. As I see it, living less than 30 minutes east of Portsmouth as I do, Cherbourg to Rennes and Caen to Rennes are not far apart in journey times, but the roads from Caen are that much better that the Cherbourg v Caen decision becomes a no-brainer.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

I wouldn't have said it has anything to do with the merits and demerits of the ports themselves, but the road links. Caen has had for a number of years fast, efficient motorways heading east towards Rouen and Paris and west towards Rennes and all points south west. Cherbourg, by comparison has had a dual-carriageway to Caen, making it a sensible port if heading to points east of Cherbourg when starting out from Ireland or Poole, but the roads down the Cotentin peninsula towards Rennes have been notoriously poor for many years. As I see it, living less than 30 minutes east of Portsmouth as I do, Cherbourg to Rennes and Caen to Rennes are not far apart in journey times, but the roads from Caen are that much better that the Cherbourg v Caen decision becomes a no-brainer.

 

I think it is something of a myth that the the roads south from Cherbourg are not good. Good in what sense? Motorways going hither and thus, clear of traffic? Certainly not good in the former sense but certainly good in the latter. The ordinary roads from Cherbourg to Avranches via Valognes, La Haye du Puits, Coutances and Granville have been always remarkably free of traffic with the advantages of being able to stop at the side of the road and at local supermarkets. Cherbourg has been enjoying significant success recently as a cruise ship port of call, and popular destinations for excursionists from the cruise ships have been Mont St Michel in one direction and the Normandy D-Day beaches in the other. Such excursions are hardly likely if the roads are bad.

 

No, I fear the cause of Cherbourg's decline as a ferry port has been the way in which its principal ferry operator, BF, has chosen to exploit the situation, favouring Caen over Cherbourg. At least that's the the way, I gain the impression, the Cherbourgeois see it. The obvious answer is to get another operator in, then the problem is which English South Coast port to use. One fears Poole, the only place that has enjoyed continuing success -- since 1973, in fact, is too committed to BF to be able to accept another operator. Others, less kind, would say the place is too moribund to do anything even though if Cherbourg fails as a cross-channel ferry port Poole will fail with it.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

No, I fear the cause of Cherbourg's decline as a ferry port has been the way in which its principal ferry operator, BF, has chosen to exploit the situation, favouring Caen over Cherbourg. At least that's the the way, I gain the impression, the Cherbourgeois see it. The obvious answer is to get another operator in, then the problem is which English South Coast port to use. One fears Poole, the only place that has enjoyed continuing success -- since 1973, in fact, is too committed to BF to be able to accept another operator. Others, less kind, would say the place is too moribund to do anything even though if Cherbourg fails as a cross-channel ferry port Poole will fail with it.

 

No. Cherbourgs decline has everything to do with lack of demand from the travelling public and hauliers, mainly due to its less advantageous position compared to cen of Le Havre. Once P&O pulled out BF tried to fill the void with two of their best vessels the Bretagne and Val De Loire operating a dalily service and guess what most of the time they were empty. BF have filled the void as well as they could buying the Normandie Express but it would have been suicidal for them to continue operating the same amount of crossings P&0 did yet. Cherbourg owes a lot to BF, during the summer months they operate by far the most crossings out of the port than out of any of their other French ports, but theirs only so much they can do if the demand isn't there. If BF favours Caen there is a reason, there's far greater demand from Caen than Cherbourg! You only need to see CL's attempt at entering Cherbourg to see how hard it is to do well there.

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