Freight News, Sea

Ferry subsidies anger Calais port boss

[ November 7, 2019   //   ]

The decision by the UK government to offer subsidies to ferry companies operating cross-Channel routes to and from a number of French ports – but not the port of Calais – has angered the chief executive of the latter, Jean-Marc Puissesseau.

”We are very dissatisfied with the decision by the British government to develop other routes, considering the investment we have made in the port of Calais. It costs us €50 million a year,” he told FBJ in an interview.

His remarks follow the news in September that the UK Government had signed contracts worth up to £87 million with ferry companies to keep supplies of medicines and other vital goods on the move in the event of disruption to ports after Brexit with Brittany Ferries, DFDS, P&O European Ferries and Stena Line but concentrating on ports such as Teesport, the Humber, Harwich, Felixstowe, Tilbury, Portsmouth and Poole.

It is not the first time that the UK government has run into trouble with ‘Brexit’ busting ferry contracts – a previous deal involving Brittany, DFDS and Seabourne sparked legal action from Eurotunnel , which was not included in the scheme and which in turn led to a counter-claim by P&O Ferries.

However, Puissesseau said that he had not yet decided if the Port of Boulogne Calais would consider legal action itself. It would depend on when Brexit took place and whether any money was actually paid out to ferry operators.

(The next issue of FBJ will include a report on France and the Channel ports, including a longer interview with Jean-Marc Puissesseau.)