Freight News, Sea

Competition Commission finds against MyFerryLink again

[ March 21, 2014   //   ]

The UK’s Competition Commission (CC) has found against Eurotunnel and its MyFerryLink subsidiary in its provisional findings of the tunnel operator’s takeover of ships and operators belonging to the now bankrupt French Railways subsidiary, SeaFrance. The CC was considering the issue after the matter was referred to it by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in December. At that time, it had already found against Eurotunnel but was asked to reconsider certain aspects of the case.

In its provisional findings, the CC decided that Groupe Eurotunnel and a workers’ cooperative formed by former SeaFrance employees (known as SCOP SeaFrance), had effectively acquired the SeaFrance operation as a going concern and had thereby gained an unfair share of the market. “The combination of assets that GET and SCOP SeaFrance acquired enabled them to establish ferry operations more quickly, more cheaply and with less risk than if alternative assets had been separately acquired in the market,” said the CC.

This included vessels that are specifically configured to meet the requirements of the Dover–Calais route as well as ex-SeaFrance staff with experience of running a service on that route.

The CC aims to make its final decision by early May and is now inviting responses in writing to

In response, Eurotunnel said that it “cannot understand how it is possible to acquire a company six months after it has ceased to exist and nine months after the closure of all operations” and that the CC’s decision completely contradicted that of the French competition authorities.

It added: “Groupe Eurotunnel emphasises that over the past two years the market has in no way been negatively affected by MyFerryLink. On the contrary statements by a competitor confirming that it would have to leave the Short Straits are, in the light of the evidence from public statements about their financial strength and ambitions to expand, entirely incredible.”

However, if the CC did not change its mind “in the light of the current reality, and not based on

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