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Andy

2009 Results

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Re: 2009 Results

 

I think if you look at the prices from Poole and Portsmouth now for next year, they maybe different at first, until the Portsmouth crossings start to fill and then the Poole prices rise due to the computerised booking system BF use to maximize profit. I would love to see a £50-£100 saving.

 

I have noticed this over the past few years and use the fact to our advantage and book crossings early before the Poole prices go up each year.

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Guest Kernow

Re: 2009 Results

 

the roads down the Cotentin peninsula towards Rennes have been notoriously poor for many years.

 

The recommended route changed a few years ago. Although 15 miles or so longer than the old single carriageway there is now only one short stretch of about 8 miles or so that is NOT dual carriageway if you follow the E3 route. ( Carentan-St. Lo-autoroute). The remaining section is due to be completed within the next year. Think the total distance from Caen- Rennes in comparison to Cherbourg to Rennes is about 18 miles shorter, but as others have said it all depends on individual taste, times for truck drivers, rest times etc, but Poole-Cherbourg is 1h45 quicker. Just a thought but reckon it may be too short for some truckers, who would need more rest time, if travelling on to say the Midlands going north or down to Nantes if going south...

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Re: 2009 Results

 

The road down the Cotentin is certainly much better than it used to be and I found it a pleasure to drive on a couple of months back but obviously you can reach the A84 East/West dual carriage way a lot more quickly from either Caen or St Malo. Of course it all depends on where you are actually going in France and sailing timings but I suspect that Cherbourg will reamin at a disadvantage as far as many people are concerned as it does add a significant amount of driving time if you are going anywhere other than the Cotentin itself.

 

Travelling from the UK, St Malo offers the most civilised sailing times if you want a decent night's sleep before a long drive the other end. It's not so good coming back unless you make an overnight stop in the immediate locality enabling you to catch the 10:00 sailing to Portsmouth and for us when travelling to and from SW France a good combination is St Malo outbound and the 17:00 sailing from Caen inbound but we do live within just over one hour's drive from Portsmouth.

 

I have always been put off the overnight sailings to Caen because of the early arrival. After a couple of hours driving I'm ready for a nap!

 

Portsmouth/Cherbourg would have attractions for me with a fast ferry sailing around 9:00am which would allow an afternoon's driving South from Cherbourg. This would give access to a lot of the popular Normandy tourist areas. NEX's departure time of 08:00 is just a bit too early for my liking!

 

Colin

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Re: 2009 Results

 

I'm sure I must have said this before but it's always seemed to me that Cherbourg lost out when the Cross Channel trade moved to Portsmouth obviating the long haul down Southampton Water. Thus it became possible to sail to both Caen and Le Havre with a schedule that still allowed two return trips per day while offering the driver a bit less road work on the French side. I feel very sorry for Cherbourg as they have done their best with the Terminal etc - even though Footpax are left with a long walk to centre ville - and the town itself is a delightful place to spend a day or two as well.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

I think that I may have asked this question before elsewhere without seeing an answer, but anyway - does the strange ownership of the BF fleet dictate in any way the commitment of the company to any port? I believe that each ship is owned in varying proportions by BF themselves, as well as by the regions and departments and possibly even with contributions from, for instance, the Cherbourg CCI. Whilst it is obviously in the owners' best narrow interests to see the ships being used profitably, surely the incentive for, let us say La Manche, to invest is to ensure a wider contribution to the whole economy of the department. Would they invest without some assurances?

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Guest Kernow

Re: 2009 Results

 

Think you are right to a certain extent about the ferries belonging to particular places, but I believe that in 2007 for various reasons (taxes and indeed the management of the fleet), the Caen and Cherbourg owners (i.e. Calvados and Manche-based partnerships) merged to form a Lower Normandy partnership, while the Roscoff/St. Malo based ferries are owned by the Breton partnership. This does mean that the Breton and Lower Normandy councils and chambers of commerce have a say as part owners of the fleets along with regional banks (Crédit Agricole) and farmers' cooperatives. Very different from the way P+O or Stena run/ran in the past. All sorts of other factors come into play - employment, French laws/rights, transport policy, regional policy.... Remember too the original goal of the company in Roscoff was not to make huge profits, but to provide a transport link to export farm produce, although this has evolved over time.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

Think you are right to a certain extent about the ferries belonging to particular places, but I believe that in 2007 for various reasons (taxes and indeed the management of the fleet), the Caen and Cherbourg owners (i.e. Calvados and Manche-based partnerships) merged to form a Lower Normandy partnership, while the Roscoff/St. Malo based ferries are owned by the Breton partnership. This does mean that the Breton and Lower Normandy councils and chambers of commerce have a say as part owners of the fleets along with regional banks (Crédit Agricole) and farmers' cooperatives. Very different from the way P+O or Stena run/ran in the past. All sorts of other factors come into play - employment, French laws/rights, transport policy, regional policy.... Remember too the original goal of the company in Roscoff was not to make huge profits, but to provide a transport link to export farm produce, although this has evolved over time.

 

How does Louis Dreyfus Armateurs fit into all of this in relation to Cherbourg? I thought they were in partnership with the Chambre de Commerce with a view to expanding business at the port, including ferry traffic. If the CC is involved in some way in the ownership of BARFLEUR and COTENTIN, isn't there "a conflict of interest" here? How can LDA expand ferry traffic, as the CC apparently wants, without competing against its business partner? Maybe this is a reason for LDA and BF's position there is room for only one operator on this section of the Channel. Perhaps the Celtic Link Ferries' Cherbourg-Portsmouth fiasco must seen as an aberration. At least it seems to have resulted in a two ship Cherbourg-Rosslare service which must do something to increase business.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

How does Louis Dreyfus Armateurs fit into all of this in relation to Cherbourg? I thought they were in partnership with the Chambre de Commerce with a view to expanding business at the port, including ferry traffic. If the CC is involved in some way in the ownership of BARFLEUR and COTENTIN, isn't there "a conflict of interest" here? How can LDA expand ferry traffic, as the CC apparently wants, without competing against its business partner? Maybe this is a reason for LDA and BF's position there is room for only one operator on this section of the Channel. Perhaps the Celtic Link Ferries' Cherbourg-Portsmouth fiasco must seen as an aberration. At least it seems to have resulted in a two ship Cherbourg-Rosslare service which must do something to increase business.

 

I would not hold your breath as I think it is only currently a 2 ship operation because they have 2 ships by default having abandoned the Portsmouth route and I think it wont be long before 1 is moved on elsewhere.

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Guest Kernow

Re: 2009 Results

 

According to the Port website the partnership betweeen the Chamber of Commerce and LDA was " based on the diversification of the port’s activity in particular on the development of the transhipment of bulk cargoes." I don't believe the idea was to encourage LD ferries to develop a link, which could threaten the stable position of BF.

The actual financial structure of the ferry owners Senamanche-Somanor is fairly complicated but I believe around two-thirds local councils and public bodies. Not sure if the Normandy chambers of commerce are as involved as the Breton ones in the structure. I remember that the BAI company, which basically is the main company behind BF has a significant holding by the Breton chambers of commerce (around 12%).

In other words there are as I said before public concerns in BF and not like say Stena or P+O uniquely commercial concerns. The ports are also viewed from the perspective of serving the regions (transport, business, employment...) rather than money-making enterprises. The involvement with LDA is seen as a public private partnership to make the most of the facilities and develop them, and while LDA will be hoping to make money, the public representation via the chamber of commerce and local politicians should (in theory) ensure that the overriding goals are not brushed aside. How well all that slots together is perhaps a different story, but the aims and intents are not exclusively market based.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

A very strange situation, to be sure. I thought LDA did have a brief to expand ferry services at Cherbourg. A three year concession, I believe, as opposed to ten years for deepsea traffic. How, then, are they expected to do that without affecting BF's stable position? Even services to Southern Ireland are not excluded as BF, as we know, has a weekly service Roscoff-Cork in the summer months. But the main port for France-Ireland now seems to be Cherbourg, with Irish Ferries and OSCAR WILDE and a two ship CLF service -- for the moment at least!

 

I don't know what else can be done especially in relation to the English South Coast without affecting BF's stable position. Surely this must have a bearing on any present and future English South Coast port which has, or may have, services to Cherbourg, Caen, St Malo and Roscoff. It would seem there is little the present ones can do other than to look to BF even if, as with Poole, there is a serious decline in cross-channel traffic, especially freight. One tends to forget that Condor Ferries' COMMODORE CLIPPER does do Portsmouth-Cherbourg-Portsmouth on summer Sundays. I gain the impression this service is well supported. I don't know how their fares compare. This may, of course, suggest the only challenge BF might get -- an entirely independent operator, probably not British or French but operating through a British or French subsidiary, with no involvement at all in the management of the ports at each end.

 

A final thought. When the concession to run the port of Cherbourg was out to tender one of the applicants was the French utilities concern, Veolia, in association with the local shipyard, Constructions Mecanique de Normandie (CMN), which, in fact, is owned by Abu Dhabi Mar from the Arabian Gulf. In view of the set-up one wonders what chance their application ever had!

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Re: 2009 Results

 

Thanks for that confirmation, Kernow, and for your comments, HT (if I can call you that). Even if the interests did merge to form a 'Basse Normandie' partnership, I am sure that La Manche for one would have looked for cast iron continuing guarantees concerning their interest at Cherbourg.

P&O, Stena and others may well look at the BF structure and mutter about hidden subsidies as the regions presumably look for a lower rate of financial return offset by the wider economic gains, but it has given BF the luxury of an on-going new build programme which they pretty much control.

Actually, the model is not dissimilar to that behind the founding of Aurigny by Sir Derrick Bailey and a small band of Alderney residents in 1968 using the funds and goodwill of various stakeholders to finance the assets. (but that's another exciting story).

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Re: 2009 Results

 

P&O, Stena and others may well look at the BF structure and mutter about hidden subsidies as the regions presumably look for a lower rate of financial return offset by the wider economic gains, but it has given BF the luxury of an on-going new build programme which they pretty much control.

 

I believe this has been investigated and shown not to be subsidised. I believe a charter fee is "paid".

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Re: 2009 Results

 

Port of Caen reports the Normandie Express' 2009 carryings as:

 

148 crossings

82,339 passengers (6,143 foot passengers)

23,683 cars

 

That represents an average of over 550 passengers per sailings (with a capacity of 900. Thats pretty good going. :) )

 

Here is the full French article:

 

La saison 2009 du ferry rapide.

Depuis 2005, le catamaran rapide “Normandie Express” de la Britttany ferries, vient renforcer les ferries traditionnels (“Mont Saint Michel” et “Normandie”) sur la ligne Ouistreham/Portsmouth avec des départs les vendredis, samedis et dimanches, d’avril à septembre, pour une traversée effectuée en 3 h 30.

Pour la saison 2009 du “Normandie Express”, ouverte du 3 avril au 27 septembre, ce navire a effectué 148 traversées, a transporté 82 339 passagers (dont 6 143 piétons) et 23 683 véhicules. Ces chiffres intègrant une période plus creuse, avant la haute saison, le taux de remplissage est satisfaisant.

Pour l’année 2010, la présence du Normandie Express est prévue pour une durée plus longue, allant du 19 mars au 24 octobre. Ce qui représente une quarantaine de traversées supplémentaires.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

Port of Caen reports the Normandie Express' 2009 carryings as:

 

148 crossings

82,339 passengers (6,143 foot passengers)

23,683 cars

 

That represents an average of over 550 passengers per sailings (with a capacity of 900. Thats pretty good going. :) )

 

Here is the full French article:

 

Those stats also show that Foot Passengers are a relatively small part of the market these days and some of those foot passengers would really have been coach passengers (getting on a different coach in France).

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Re: 2009 Results

 

The full 2009 ex-UK passenger ferry statistics have now been published, and can be downloaded here.

 

It makes interesting reading. The point that stands out for me is that during 2009 the Plymouth and Portsmouth to Santander routes combined carried less than from Plymouth in 2008. This clearly makes the arrival of the Cap Finistere an interesting move, and surely based upon freight projections rather than passengers?

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Re: 2009 Results

 

The full 2009 ex-UK passenger ferry statistics have now been published, and can be downloaded here.

 

It makes interesting reading. The point that stands out for me is that during 2009 the Plymouth and Portsmouth to Santander routes combined carried less than from Plymouth in 2008. This clearly makes the arrival of the Cap Finistere an interesting move, and surely based upon freight projections rather than passengers?

 

It think given the CF's capacities that's taken as a given.

 

In terms of figures I think next year will be more interesting...without P&O.

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Re: 2009 Results

 

The document below may be of interest, which includes details of 2009 carryings, financial results and the structure of the company.

 

http://www.brittany-ferries.fr/media/pdf/i/5/E3-Fiches-Instit-210x297-HD.pdf

 

Andy

 

This is interesting reading. Do you know when any results will be available for 2009/10.

 

It would seem obvious why the Barfleur was withdrawn from service. However the Poole- Cherbourg freight service dosn't seem to have performed well. So possibly the talk of a return for the Barfleur could be linked with the Contentin earning more revenue by visiting more frequently leaving Barfleur to carry the reduced volume of freighters and pasengers to Cherbourg.

 

Reading all the comments it seems to me there is a lot of politics in all this.

 

We can all guess but nobody, except the owners, really know anything.

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