P&O Ferries: new ships, less crossings

By | 2023 Newsletter week 2 | No Comments

Company P&O Ferries says it reduced its carbon footprint by 85,000 tons in 2022. The press release says the lion’s share of the reduction is attributable to the space charter agreement signed with DFDS 18 months ago.

For 2023, the space charter agreement with DFDS means that P&O Ferries will sail 9,000 times on the English Channel, down from 16,000 times in 2019, the last comparable year.

The agreement reduces the time drivers spend waiting at the ports, giving them access to a departure every 36 minutes and reducing gate-to-gate journey times by an estimated 30 minutes.

This year, P&O Ferries will take delivery of two double-ended new super-ferries.

The company expects 7,000 les crossings than in 2019.

The press release does not say anything about the long strike (and less sailings) after so many seafarers were fired.

Some new ferries among the projects approved under the EUR 161 million Italian fleet renewal

By | 2023 Newsletter week 1 | No Comments

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €500 million Italian scheme to help companies in the maritime transport sector to acquire clean and zero-emission vessels, as well as to retrofit more polluting vessels. The measure contributes to the achievement of the objectives of the Commission’s European Green Deal and ‘Fit for 55′ package.

The scheme is aimed at encouraging shipping companies to replace existing vessels with low environmental performance, and to reduce the use of fossil-based fuels in the maritime transport sector. The scheme will support projects increasing the environmental performance and energy efficiency of vessels operating long, medium and short sea services for passenger, freight and combined transport, as well as of other vessels operating in Italian ports.

In particular, the aid will support the acquisition of clean and zero-emission vessels, including vessels powered by electricity and hydrogen, and the retrofitting of vessels.

The aid will take the form of direct grants. The maximum aid amount per beneficiary is 40% of the eligible costs, which may be increased up to 60% for small and medium-sized enterprises and to 45% for projects concerning zero-emission vessels.

Some of the approved projects are for still-to-be-ordered ships from the ferry companies Toremar, Maregiglio di Navigazione, Snav, Lauro.it and Bluferries.

P&O Ferries say goodbye to BORE SONG

By | 2023 Newsletter week 1 | No Comments

BORE SONG is no longer operating for P&O Ferries. She was chartered since 2011 and served the cross-Channel routes from Zeebrugge. She left Zeebrugge end of December 2022.

BORE SONG is now in the Baltic Sea, working together with her sister BORE SEA for Transfennica (Bore and Transfennica are companies owned by Dutch Spliethoff).

CMA (UK) secures offer of commitments from P&O Ferries and DFDS

By | 2022 Newsletter week 24 | No Comments

In November 2021, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation into an agreement between ferry companies P&O Ferries and DFDS A/S. This agreement – known as a ‘capacity sharing agreement’ – provides a ‘turn up and go’ function for freight customers at the Dover and Calais ports, allowing them to take the next available ferry regardless of which of the 2 operators they booked with. The agreement aims to reduce journey times and congestion at ports for freight customers, while also providing broader potential benefits for supply bottlenecks and the wider economy.

While the CMA recognises the flexibility such an agreement allows, it is concerned that aspects of the companies’ arrangements could, if unaddressed, ultimately lead to higher prices and fewer sailings.

For example, when implementing this agreement, P&O and DFDS created a single schedule to space out the firms’ departures more evenly. However, as part of this, the companies also removed some journeys entirely from their schedule and documentation gathered by the CMA showed they planned to further reduce the number of sailings in the future. Such behaviour could lead to higher prices and less frequent journeys for both tourists and freight customers.

The CMA is also concerned that the agreement could encourage each company to cancel off-peak sailings at short notice because it will allow them to keep revenue from customers even if they travel on the other firm’s ferry. Such cancellations would cause disruption to freight and tourist customers on the busy Dover-Calais route and could also lead to higher prices.

In addition, the CMA believes the agreement has the potential to fix the amount of freight customers each firm carries in relation to the other. Fixing amounts in this way would likely reduce the companies’ incentives to compete for customers by offering lower prices and better service quality.

Following CMA intervention, the companies have proposed to commit to:

  • not agree with one another the number of sailings that each company operates
  • put strict limits on the number of sailings that they may cancel
  • amend the agreement to make clear that it does not fix the amount of freight customers that either company may carry

The CMA will now consult on the commitments offered, providing an opportunity for third parties to voice any thoughts or concerns. Any responses must be made by 5pm on 4 July 2022 and will be considered as the CMA reviews the commitments offered by P&O and DFDS.

Seafarers must be paid an equivalent to UK national minimum wage

By | 2022 Newletter week 19 | No Comments

Following P&O Ferries’ decision to sack 800 workers, the UK government is introducing pay protection reforms requiring ferry operators who regularly call at UK ports to pay their workers the equivalent of the UK national minimum wage.

Announced in the Queen’s speech, the government will implement the changes in the next parliamentary session and will consult closely with the ports and maritime sector on the new laws.

The new legislation will ban ferries that don’t pay their workers the equivalent to minimum wage from docking at UK ports.

P&O Ferries: new powers to protect maritime workers

By | 2022 Newsletter week 13 | No Comments

In a speech to the House of Commons, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps announced several measures, including ensuring that all UK ferry operators pay the national minimum wage and that ferries are fit for purpose.

“P&O Ferries’ failure to see reason, to recognise the public anger and to do the right thing by their staff has left the government with no choice,” the Minister said.

He announced a package of 9 measures:

  1. HM Revenue and Customs to check that all UK ferry operators are compliant with the National Minimum Wage where they should be.
  2. Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to review their enforcement policies.
  3. Prevent employers, who have not made reasonable efforts to reach agreement through consultation, from using fire and rehire tactics.
  4. CEO of P&O Ferries should resign.
  5. Pursuing worldwide agreements at the International Labour Organisation.
  6. From next week, the reforms to Tonnage Taxcome into effect, making it easier for maritime businesses to set up in the UK.
  7. Engage with international partners to discuss how maritime workers on direct routes between the countries and the UK should receive a minimum wage.
  8. Intention to give British ports new statutory powers to refuse access to regular ferry services which do not pay their crew the National Minimum Wage.
  9. “I will be writing to all ports in the UK explaining our intention to bring legislation as quickly as possible. But, in the meantime, instructing them not to wait. I want to see British ports refusing access to ferry companies which don’t pay a fair wage as soon as practical.”

P&O Ferries fire 800 crew members

By | 2022 Newsletter week 12 | No Comments

The big news of last week was when the ships from P&O Ferries were halted on Thursday, March 17. The crew had to watch a pre-recorded video, telling them that 800 crew contracts have been terminated with immediate effect, on the grounds of redundancy.

The decision had been taken “to save the company” after two years of losses of GBP 100 million each year.

The ships will primarily be crewed by a third-party crew provider. The new crew embarked the same day, relieving the fired crew members.

The way it has happened caused a lot of anger. The British parliament is debating about the issue. The government is examining whether the company had followed the proper procedure before mass redundancies. It has given the company a deadline to explain how the procedures were followed.

What is the situation on the different routes? (March 22)

Dover-Calais: Freight customers are being shipped via DFDS on the next available space charter sailing.

Larne-Cairnryan: All sailings suspended, further updates on resumption of service when available.

Dublin-Liverpool: Services resumed as normal.

Hull-Europoort: All sailings suspended, further updates on resumption of service when available.

Tilbury-Zeebrugge, Hull-Zeebrugge LOLO, Teesport-Europoort and Teesport-Zeebrugge routes: All sailings operating to schedule