Brittany Ferries holds AGM and publishes results

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Brittany Ferries held their AGM on 10 March 2023.  At the same time, the company published passenger, freight and financial results, covering its financial year November 2021 to October 2022.

  • Profit of EUR 22.6 million
  • Turnover of EUR 444.7 million (EUR 202.4 million Nov 2020 – Oct 2021). This is only EUR 22 million short of 2018-19 financial year.

Le Figaro reports that during the two Covid years, Brittany Ferries accumulated losses of EUR 220 million.

Looking ahead, the company remains confident. Bookings are up by 23% so far this year, pointing to a recovery towards pre-Covid business volumes.  This is against a backdrop of supporting employment (BF is the biggest employer of French employees 1,872 in high season) and tonnage renewal.

Passenger traffic growth on long-distance routes

Comparisons are made to the last pre-Covid year (November 2018 – October 2019) to paint the most accurate comparison.

Passenger traffic showed stronger results on long-haul routes: those connecting the UK with Spain, and Ireland with France and Spain. The Irish market recorded particularly strong passenger growth with a 48% increase in volumes carried compared with 2018-2019.

This was in part due to the expansion of Brittany Ferries’ routes connecting France and Ireland, as well as increased frequency on Roscoff to Cork route and the opening of the Cherbourg to Rosslare route to passengers, having previously operated in freight-only mode.

Good freight performance on Irish routes, but decline on the Channel

Freight volumes reached 167,711 units last year, well down on pre-Covid and pre-Brexit volumes.

This reduction was largely attributable to reduced volumes on Channel routes, but once again, Ireland stood out in terms of growth for the year. This was largely a consequence of trade flows shifting due to Brexit, as hauliers sought alternatives to the UK landbridge when transporting goods between mainland Europe and Ireland.

Contributing to economic wealth in France

Brittany Ferries continues to be a significant wealth generator of the regions it serves. While tourist traffic was significantly lower than before Covid, the company still carried almost 800,000 visitors to France last year.

In total 789 000 individuals came by ferry from the UK and Ireland. They spent 9.1 million bed nights in the Hexagon, spending a total of €815M. In terms of regional split, Brittany and Normandy were the biggest benefactors (see table below

CMA CGM becomes Brittany Ferries shareholder

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CMA CGM, the world’s 3rd largest container shipping company is now a 12% shareholder in Brittany Ferries.  CMA CGM released a statement saying;

“By becoming a shareholder, the CMA CGM Group is renewing its confidence in Brittany Ferries, the leading ferry operator under the French flag. This investment is in line with the Group’s strategy to help maintain the industrial base in strategic transport sectors in France.”

In September 2021, CMA CGM had invested €25 million in Brittany Ferries in the form of €10 million in convertible bonds and a loan of €15 million euro.  These will now be converted to shares in the company.

At the same time in 2021, the two companies entered into a “commercial partnership” with CMA CGM using cargo space aboard Brittany Ferries’ fleet.

In an interview with Le Figaro, Brittany Ferries President Jean-Marc Roué stated that the strengthening of the company’s equity will help prepare for the future.  This includes exercising the purchase options on the five Eflexer vessels chartered (or due to be chartered) from Stena RoRo.  The purchase options are in the period 2026 to 2030.

Brittany Ferries is also seeking a further EUR 15 million in capital and is discussing with potential stakeholders.

The traditional shareholders are said to remain in control of over 80% of the company.  According to the 2021 Rapport d’activité, the shareholding of Brittany Ferries was Agricultural Interests 83.74%,  CCI Bretonnes 12.3 % (Chambers of Commerce) and Others 4.23%.

Photo: Brittany Ferries

Zeebrugge hub expansion for CLdN

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CLdN has announced a major expansion of their Zeebrugge – England operation

  • New Zeebrugge – Teesport route – 3 roundtrips per week.
  • New Zeebrugge – Rotterdam route – 1 roundtrip per week.
  • Zeebrugge – Purfleet – 3 additional roundtrips per week, offering up to 3 sailings in each direction on peak days.
  • Customers will be able to place their cargo in a single terminal hub in Zeebrugge and choose to ship to any one of CLdN’s terminals on the East coast of England: Purfleet, Killingholme (Humberside) and Teesport.

The changes begin on 18 March.

CLdN’s new services to Teesport are said to be driven by customer demand to have direct and reliable access for freight units to the North East of England, thereby bringing cargo closer to its final destination, avoiding road mileage and unnecessary CO2 emissions.

A long-term agreement with PD Ports, the owners of Teesport, has been signed.  Teesport has an onsite intermodal rail terminal enabling direct access to the UK’s national rail network, including two train departures to Scotland per day.

The new Tees service will be priced in such a way as to “assist customers in developing new cargo flows”.

Photo: CLdN

Bornholm charters previous ship

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From 11 to 27 April, Bornholmslinjen will charter the STENA VINGA to cover the dry-dock of the HAMMERSHUS.

 STENA VINGA was built for the Bornholm route as HAMMERODDE.  She sailed for the previous operator of the tendered service (Bornholmstrafikken/BornholmerFærgen) until Molslinjen’s Bornsholmslinjen took over in 2018.

Due to her previous long operation on the route, it is known that the vessel is suitable and fits the berths/ports.

The only difference in daily routine will be that STENA VINGA will depart from Rønne at 16:00 instead of 17:00. This will give extra time at Køge to load.  ‘Vinga has an additional upper vehicle deck.

Although officially allocated to the Göteborg – Frederikshavn route, STENA VINGA has operated on almost every current Stena Line route as a cover vessel.

New Bornholm fast ferry further delayed

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EXPRESS 5, being built by Austal, Philippines, has received a further delay in delivery.

This means that MAX MOLS cannot be released from the Bornholm route as planned to become the fourth fast ferry on Molslinjen’s Kattegat service.

MAX MOLS should have sailed on the route between Ebeltoft and Odden from 20 April, this date is now 11 May.

Photo: Molslinjen

DFDS February volumes: freight lower as expected, continued passenger growth

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Ferry – freight:

  • Total volumes in February 2023 were 8.6% below 2022. Volumes were 5.8% below 2022 adjusted for Channel that is impacted by a market decrease and overcapacity.
  • North Sea volumes were just below last year due to some slowdown in volumes to and from the UK.
  • Mediterranean volumes were likewise just below last year as the earthquake in Turkey lowered flows for some weeks.
  • Channel volumes were below last year due to a continued market decrease and a negative impact from the entry of a third ferry operator.
  • Baltic Sea volumes remained negatively impacted by the war in Ukraine.
  • For the last twelve months 2023-22, the total transported freight lane metres decreased 4.7% to 41.3m from 43.3m in 2022-21. The decrease was 2.3% adjusted for Channel.

Ferry – passenger:

  • The number of passengers continued to recover and more than doubled to 211k equal to 89% of volumes in February 2019, the latest comparable month pre-Covid-19. The number of cars equalled 85% of volumes in 2019.
  • For the last twelve months 2023-22, the total number of passengers was 4.0m compared to 1.0m in 2022-21 and 5.1m in 2019.

Q4 2022 Irish RoRo statistics revealed

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The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) has published the latest sea freight statistics, covering Q 4 2022:

  • RoRo traffic at Republic of Ireland ports declined by 3%, compared to Q4 2021 with 295,192 units recorded. At Northern Irish ports the decline was 7% with 214,913 units recorded. The cause was said to be the global economic downturn.  The traffic split was 42% NI – GB, 39% ROI – GB and 19% ROI – EU.
  • 2022 was a record year for RoRo traffic to the Republic of Ireland, with 1.2 million units surpassed. The previous peak was 1.19 million units in 2019.
  • Of the 1.2 million units in 2022, 800,000 units were ROI – GB and 400,000 Direct EU routes. This compares to 1 million ROI – GB and 200,000 Direct EU pre-Brexit.  This is due to a decline in use of the UK Landbridge, decline in Northern Irish traffic using ROI – GB and some retail warehouses supplying ROI moving from the UK to mainland Europe.  Decline in Q4 was consistent across ROI – GB and ROI – EU.

The full report can be viewed here (Click on image)

Tallink Grupp ship charter update

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At the Tallink Grupp 2022 results webinar on 22 February, an update was given of the position of the charters of the company’s vessels.


Ship Charter Contract Expiry
ROMANTIKA Holland Norway Lines March 2025 – extension possible
ATLANTIC VISION/SUPERFAST IX Marine Atlantic May 2024 – extension possible
SILJA EUROPA Dutch Government (Ukrainian migrant accommodation) June 2023 – extension possible
ISABELLE Estonian Government (Ukrainian migrant accommodation) June 2023 – extension possible
VICTORIA I Scottish Government (Ukrainian migrant accommodation) June 2023 – extension possible
GALAXY Dutch Government (Ukrainian migrant accommodation) April 2023 – extension possible

Tallink Grupp loyalty programme reaches 3 million

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Tallink Silja’s loyalty programme, Club One, welcomed its 3 millionth member on 10 March 2023.

Founded 16 years ago, the club’s members are primarily from Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Latvia.  However, 217 countries worldwide are represented.

Members earn points on travel and onboard purchases which can then be used on future travel or discount at Tallink Hotels.  There are also discounts available to members at many shore side partner locations.

Mr Ari Moilanen, onboard Tallink’s shuttle vessel Megastar on 10 March 2023, receiving the prize for joining Tallink Silja Line loyalty programme Club One as the 3 millionth member, joined by Ms Siiri Toomsalu, Head of Group B2C Loyalty and Offerings at Tallink Grupp; and, on his left, Megastar captain, Master Vahur Sõstra and Megastar Intendant Üllar Märtin.

Photo: Tallink Grupp.