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NORTH SEA: Harwich-Esbjerg route closing
Tuesday, 10 June 2014 00:00

Current Harwich-Esbjerg vessel, in her previous guise as Dana Sirena, will be redeployed by DFDS when the route closes. Nicholas LeachCurrent Harwich-Esbjerg vessel, in her previous guise as Dana Sirena, will be redeployed by DFDS when the route closes. Nicholas Leach

DFDS Seaways is closing its longest established North Sea passenger/vehicle service with a final departure from Harwich to Esbjerg by ro-pax ferry Sirena Seaways (2002/22,382gt) on 29 September. The route has a long history with sailings, principally carrying cattle on the hoof, started between Esbjerg and Thameshaven in 1875 with DFDS moving to Harwich in 1880.

Refrigerated cargo facilities from the 1890s brought an end to livestock transportation and, during the 1920s, DFDS were early pioneers of diesel propulsion with Parkeston, introduced in 1925, and near sister England (1932) having a long association with the route.

Harwich-Esbjerg saw its first car ferries in the 1960s with England (1964) joined by Winston Churchill three years later. Through to the 1990s there were daily sailings in each direction, but single-ship operation started when Sirena Seaways, then Dana Sirena, came on stream in 2003. For DFDS a final nail in the Harwich coffin is the introduction of new sulphur emissions rules next year which would add £2 million to route costs.

ENGLISH CHANNEL: Newhaven-Dieppe doubts
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 16:51

Côte d’Albâtre when operated by Transmanche Ferries. Andrew CookeCôte d’Albâtre when operated by Transmanche Ferries. Andrew Cooke

There is some doubt over the future of the Dieppe-Newhaven ferry service with French regional authority Consiel Generale Seine-Maritime threatening to wash its hands of an operation that has swallowed up €231 million of public funds over the past decade.
The present contract, now in the hands of DFDS Seaways, runs out at the end of 2014 and newly-elected council president Nicolas Rouly asks: ‘I wonder about the relevance of a link that cannot depend solely on public funds?’

A study commissioned by the General Council from Ernst & Young is due to be presented during June. At the same time the current service provider DFDS Seaways is expected to have clarified its own position.

A one-year contract extension is a possibility for the historic route, now offering a single daily sailing in either direction by Côte d’Albâtre (2006/18,425gt), purpose-built for the route at Spain’s Barreras yard in Vigo during 2006, along with sister vessel Seven Sisters, now running Portsmouth-Le Havre.

The route, developed by British and French railway companies from the 1860s, closed in the late 1990s but was reopened by French company Transmanche in 2001 using Corsica Ferries vessel Sardinia Vera (1975).


IRISH SEA: Freight timings changed
Tuesday, 06 May 2014 00:00

Stena Adventurer arriving at Dublin.  Gordon HislipStena Adventurer arriving at Dublin. Gordon Hislip

Stena Line has adjusted the timetables of two vessels on its Irish Sea services following feedback from freight operators. Ro-pax ferry Stena Adventurer (2003/43,532gt), running on the Central Corridor between Dublin Port and Holyhead, now departs from Ireland at 2030 instead of 2115 on Sundays giving a 45 minutes earlier Monday arrival at the Anglesey port to assist hauliers making time sensitive morning deliveries.

On the Birkenhead-Belfast route, weekly services by freight ro-ro Stena Hibernia (1996/13,017gt) are starting with a 1500 departure from Northern Ireland on Mondays instead of the previous 0300 Tuesday sailing from the Mersey, again at the request of hauliers. The 1,680 lane meter Stena Hibernia, with accommodation for 12 drivers, joined the route in November 2013 to complement the 2005-built ro-pax sisters Stena Lagan and Stena Mersey with increased freight demand.


NORTH SEA: New contract for DFDS
Thursday, 24 April 2014 10:43

Britannia Seaways, one of the vessels on the DFDS Rotterdam-Felixstowe route.Britannia Seaways, one of the vessels on the DFDS Rotterdam-Felixstowe route.

DFDS Seaways has signed a new two-year contract with Scania for the transport of truck chassis on the Rotterdam Vlaardingen-Felixstowe freight route, which will represent revenue of more than €800,000 in 2014. The Swedish manufacturer produces the chassis in their largest factory in Zwolle, Holland and the contract, starting on 1 April, involves shipment of 75 units a week.

The new contract comes in addition to existing arrangements for shipments from Rotterdam to Felixstowe and Immingham, the two routes handling around 10,000 truck chassis per year, with Rotterdam- Felixstowe services now in the hands of sisters Britannia Seaways and Suecia Seaways, built In 2000 and 1999, and the smaller China-built Flandria Seaways (2000/13,073gt).


FERRY REGULATION: Call for competition changes
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 00:00

MyFerryLink has been at the centre of a competition dispute.MyFerryLink has been at the centre of a competition dispute.

With the UK Competition Commission still considering MyFerryLink’s appeal against last year’s decision to ban its vessels from using the Port of Dover, there are calls from Europe for the whole question of regulatory authorities to be investigated.

The number of competition bodies in the EU has risen from three in 1989 to a total of 30, which now represents around a quarter of 125 world bodies. But this is in an area with only seven per cent of the world’s population.

A report to the French authority says the consistency of competition decisions across Europe suffers from different legal interpretations, such as in the case of MyFerryLink, a British court annulling the decision of the UK Commission under the pretext that it was not a merger, but while confirming the positions of the authority’s analysis regarding competition issues.

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