Brittany Ferries: long routes have surged forwards but Channel is a concern

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Brittany Ferries has published figures outlining passenger and freight performance for its financial year (November to October).


Freight struggled to recover 2019 levels: -27% on UK-France routes, and -22% on UK-Spain. Brexit border controls have played a role in this trend.

Freight France-Ireland and Ireland-Spain are welcome exceptions to the downward trend.

Brexit opportunities: new services have been launched connecting France directly with Ireland, exploiting what operators call The Brexit by-pass. Volumes have risen more than six-fold to 9,587 units.

Ireland-Spain has also posted positive results. Freight volumes rose 172% to 13,644 units, with an accelerating trend towards unaccompanied or driverless loads. These now comprise 45% of the total carried.


Volumes on Channel routes are a concern. The post-Brexit imposition of passports for French passengers visiting the UK has dramatically hit this side of the BF business. “What is needed now is a concerted push from tourist bodies in France and the UK to boost tourism volumes,” says CEO Christophe Mathieu.

Long routes have seen a significant increase in passenger numbers.
This has helped Brittany Ferries record a positive financial performance for the year.

“While our long routes have surged forwards, the Channel is a real concern for Brittany Ferries and our partners,” said Brittany Ferries CEO Christophe Mathieu.

Brittany Ferries says it is optimistic for the year ahead. Forward reservations are positive, and there are no barriers to passengers crossing borders, as there were in France at the beginning of 2022.

Fleet renewal continues apace

  • Launched in March 2022, Salamanca is the first of four Brittany Ferries vessels to be powered by LNG as part of investment in fleet renewal. She will operate throughout the winter and into next summer on the Cherbourg and Bilbao to Rosslare routes. The aim is to grow by 50,000 the number of holiday makers sailing between Ireland and Spain.
  • A second LNG-powered vessel called SANTOÑA will join the fleet in March next year. She too will be based in Portsmouth.
  • SANTOÑA will be followed by two LNG-electric hybrid vessels in 2024/2025, replacing two of the longest serving ships in the fleet BRETAGNE (1989) and NORMANDIE (1992). The hybrids will call Portsmouth home, and will serve St Malo in Brittany and Caen in Normandie.

Brittany Ferries fleet: 100% French flag

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The French version of the press release has an important note about the French flag. Brittany Ferries insist that the entire fleet is now flying the tricolor.

When it launched the first direct route linking Ireland to Spain in 2018, Brittany Ferries had committed that ships operating on this route would fly the French flag.

Since 2 November 2022, Brittany Ferries’ newest vessel, SALAMANCA, replaces CONNEMARA (flag: Cyprus) on the Rosslare/Bilbao and Rosslare/Cherbourg routes.

SALAMANCA flies the French flag and will be operated by French sailors. It will operate two weekly connections between Rosslare and Bilbao and one crossing between Rosslare and Cherbourg.

Recently, BF Chairman Jean-Marc Roué, expressed his deep concern about the social dumping on the Channel. “If Brittany Ferries were to operate under the social conditions of some other operators, its wage bill would fall from 80 million to 30 million euros per year,” he said. (Le Marin, in French)

Fuel cost and government actions: Color Line removes two ships

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Color Line has decided to end the operation of ropax COLOR VIKING on the Sandefjord-Strømstad route and roro COLOR CARRIER on the Oslo-Kiel route.

Strong price growth has led to a significant increase in the costs of fuel, shore power and commodity costs, while at the same time important framework conditions have been weakened. This particularly applies to the subsidy scheme for Norwegian seafarers, and in the proposal for the national budget for 2023, a further weakening of the scheme is proposed. In addition, the government proposes to further reduce the scope of the tax-free scheme, this time by halving the tax-free quota on tobacco for residents of Norway.

Both COLOR VIKING and COLOR CARRIER will be put up for sale in the global market.

Color Line says it will seek to minimize the number of redundancies through redeployment to other ships in the fleet and by offering voluntary schemes.

Finnlines’ Financial review January–September 2022

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Key figures

  • +31% Revenue EUR 558.4 million
  • +42% Result EUR 105.2 million
  • EBITDA, amounted to EUR 169.2 (121.2 in 2021) million.
  • Financial performance has improved although consumer and business confidence has been hit by the war in Ukraine, accelerating inflation and soaring energy costs.
  • Considering the economic instability, freight volumes have been fairly good during the first three quarters of 2022.

Finnlines introduced three new Eco-class hybrid roro vessels, which operate on the route Bilbao–Zeebrugge/Antwerp–Travemünde–Helsinki/Kotka.

In July, Finnlines launched a new freight route between Rosslare, Ireland, and Zeebrugge, Belgium, providing an important link between Ireland and rest of Europe. This line was highly welcomed by the market and, therefore, a smaller ro-ro vessel was quickly replaced by a larger vessel with nearly 4,200 lane metres for cargo.

The EUR 500 million investment programme includes two Superstar ro-pax vessels in addition to the three hybrid ro-ro vessels already in service. Both vessels will have capacity to carry 1,100 passengers, which is about twice the capacity of the existing ro-pax vessels on the route. The cargo capacity will increase from just over 4,000 lane metres in the current vessels to 5,200 lane metres. The new vessels will start operating on the Naantali–Långnäs–Kapellskär route in autumn 2023.

FINNSIRIUS and FINNCANOPUS will significantly enhance the passenger experience

AS Tallink Grupp Statistics for October 2022

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AS Tallink Grupp passenger, cargo unit and passenger vehicles numbers for October 2022 were the following:


October results reflect operations of Turku-Kapellskär and Helsinki-Stockholm routes. The cruise ferry GALAXY stopped operating on the Turku-Stockholm route in September 2022 due to a charter contract.


October results reflect operations of shuttle services.


October results reflect operations of Tallinn-Stockholm and Paldiski-Kapellskär routes. The cargo ship SAILOR underwent maintenance works until October 28, 2022.

Tallink boosts Tallinn-Helsinki route capacity from November, adding 4 more departures per weekday to the route

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Tallink Grupp opened ticket sales for the brand new Tallinn-Helsinki route shuttle departures with its vessel STAR, which will be launched from 27 November, taking Tallink’s weekday departures on the route between the two Nordic capitals to a new record of  16 departures per day.

The new departures on shuttle vessel STAR are launched as the company’s brand-new vessel MYSTAR is nearing completion and will be launched on the route to operate in tandem with vessel MEGASTAR in the second half of November.

Eckerö Shipping: two roro’s to go to Norwest Ship Management AS

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Eckerö Group’s subsidiary Eckerö Shipping Ab Ltd has signed an agreement with Norwest Ship Management AS for the sale of two vessels.

  • EXPORTER: will begin operating for Norwest Ship Management in January 2023.
  • EXPORTER: in July 2023, ownership will transfer to Norwest Ship Management.
  • SHIPPER: at the beginning of 2024 the ownership will also transfer to Norwest Ship Management.

Eckerö Shipping’s fleet today consists of three roro vessels and the company has now agreed on the sale of two of them. The remaining vessel, TRANSPORTER, has a multi-year contract with DFDS.

Extra RoRo ship on Fred. Olsen – Baleària route between Canary Islands and Huelva

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As of 5 November 2022, roro ship SHIPPER will be added to the route jointly operated by Fred. Olsen and Baleària. (Between the Iberian Peninsula and the Canary Islands).

The new service is a response to the increase in two types of cargo:
To the Iberian Peninsula: perishable products
To the Canary Islands: in freight transport during the Christmas period
The new service will be added to the two departures made by ropax MARIE CURIE to date, so carriers will have 3 weekly departures.
SHIPPER will depart from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. and from Huelva on Saturdays at 8:00 a.m.
The connection with other islands will be done with the fast ferries of Fred. Olsen.

Viking Line: Continued good demand, but record-high energy prices decrease earnings

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  • Sales amounted to EUR 370.2 M (169.0 M)
  • Other operating revenue was EUR 8.8 M (44.6 M)
  • Operating income totalled EUR 18.9 M (30.5 M)
  • Net financial items were EUR -7.5 M (-3.4 M)
  • Income before taxes amounted to EUR 11.4 M (27.1 M)
  • Income after taxes totalled EUR 9.5 M (22.7 M)
  • The outlook for the 2022 financial year is unchanged compared to the Half-Year Report as of June 30, 2022, which means operating income is expected to be somewhat worse than for 2021.


  • Sales amounted to EUR 170.4 M (EUR 97.5 M)
  • Other operating revenue was EUR 0.5 M (EUR 11.0 M)
  • Operating income totalled EUR 26.9 M (EUR 26.0 M)
  • Net financial items were EUR -2.8 M (EUR -1.0 M)
  • Income before taxes amounted to EUR 24.1 M (EUR 24.9 M)
  • Income after taxes totalled EUR 19.3 M (EUR 20.0 M).

ETS maritime should be workable and consistent avoiding carbon and business leakage

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FEPORT, ETA and ESPO, representing European ports, private port companies and terminal operators and tugowners support an effective and robust maritime EU ETS that enables the green transition of the maritime sector.

The three associations recognise and reiterate the need for the shipping sector to reduce emissions. It is for this reason that they support requirements for ships to reduce emissions, alongside requirements for the use and deployment of OPS where it makes sense in ports.

In relation to the EU ETS, they have the following three recommendations that should be taken into consideration in order to deliver an ambitious, robust, and effective emission trading system:


  1. Prevent evasion by ships from the EU ETS that would create carbon and business leakage.
  2. Earmark the revenues generated by a maritime EU ETS for investments in maritime and ports, especially in port infrastructure.
  3. Maintain the size threshold for vessels covered by the EU ETS as proposed by the European Commission (5000GT) to achieve ambitious and workable legislation.

The three are committed to facilitating the greening of shipping and will continue to support the discussions on the maritime aspects of the Fit for 55-package in order to deliver an ambitious, coherent and workable legislative framework.