Ferry services axed or under threat
LD Lines has withdrawn its three-times weekly ’Motorway of the Sea’ (MoS) between Nantes-Saint-Nazaire in France and Gijon, in Spain because it is no longer economically-viable despite its popularity.
According to transport news specialists, Lloyd’s Loading List.com, during the summer, company boss Christophe Santoni warned that the service’s days were numbered if an agreement couldn’t be reached on either prolonging the public subsidies it has benefited from over the past four years and which ended earlier this month or an alternative business plan found.
Launched in September 2010, the service was a pioneer of the Motorway of the Sea sustainable freight transport concept, focusing on taking trucks off congested roads. But without the financial cushion of subsidies the service would have posted annual net operating losses of €6 million.
DFDS has started consultations with French unions about plans to close its Le Havre-Portsmouth ferry service at the end of 2014 due to continued losses.
The daily round-trip service carried 185,000 passengers and 480,000 lane metres of freight in 2013.
DFDS has direct competition on the Le Havre-Portsmouth route from Brittany Ferries which also operates the Caen-Portsmouth crossing. DFDS also runs the Dieppe-Newhaven ferry service, as a public service concession awarded by the Seine Maritime Council which is due to expire at the end of this year.
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