P&O Welcome the new competition
In November 2011 P&O ferries were the only company offering the ferry connection between Calais and Dover; this is all about to change next week. SeaFrance, the French state owned operator was so debt laden it had to stop sailing giving the monopoly to P&O Ferries. Denmark’s DFDS and French company, LD lines were initially stopped in their tracks by Frances commercial courts. The courts ruled that DFDS and LD lines could not buy the assets from debt ridden SeaFrance, instead they went into liquidation.
The 2 companies didn’t let this deter them; they joined forces and are launching a new Dover – Calais ferry service on the 17th February this year. The new ferry will be direct competition for P&O ferries and hopefully offer competitive prices for the consumer.
DFDS are hoping the joint venture will create jobs and a fair and competitive market. In a media statement, DFDS Seaways said: “The underlying industrial logic of DFDS’ and LD Lines’ joint venture has remained intact throughout the process. Furthermore, our joint venture is still in a unique position to create a number of sustainable French jobs, including the deployment of French flagged ships.”
P&O ferries have responded to the competition by sailing a new state of the art ferry. The Spirit of France first set sail on the 28th January from Finland has already made it’s first ferry crossing. The Spirit of France is the sister boat of the Sister of Britain and can hold 160 Lorries and 195 cars, as well as 2000 passengers.
The joint venture between DFDS and LD lines has been welcomed by many. With the hope of creating 300 jobs and the long term view of bringing more ferries to cross the English Channel. This is excellent news, not just for creating jobs but for logistic and packaging companies who also rely on the ferry services as a gateway to the UK and Europe.