Brexit. Brittany Ferries to create 19 weekly rotations

The Department for Transports has awarded a £46,6 millions contract to Brittany Ferries to operate 19 further weekly crossings from 29th March from Plymouth, Poole and Portsmouth in case of a without-deal Brexit.

M/V Barfleur arriving in Cerbourg-en-Cotentin from Poole. Thanks to this contract, Barfleur is believe to operate two daily rotations beginning 29th March, which is unseen since 2009.

The Department for Transport has just announced it will spend £107.7 millions to subsidise three ferry companies for operating further ferries crossings from 29th March. Indeed, the UK government fears a no-deal Brexit would dramatically lengthened border checks in Dover, meaning fewer ferry crossings could be operated on the Dover strait.


The additional crossings - which will be implemented only in the event of a without-deal Brexit - represent 10% of the current freight traffic on the Dover Strait, and will see Brittany Ferries, DFDS Seaways and Seaborne Freight adding further crossings from Poole, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Immingham and Felixstowe. These contracts were not put out to tender, since they are addressing a “situation of extreme urgency” with the fear the “delivery of critical goods to be delayed” owing to congestions in Dover.

M/V Etretat sailing from Le Havre to Portsmouth. Etretat was supposed to be laid up from 9th July and the introduction of Honfleur. However, thanks to this deal it is likely she would continue service between Le Havre and Portsmouth.

Brittany Ferries’ chief executive, Chistophe Mathieu, says “Our priority is to prepare for a no-deal Brexit and to create additional capacity. By increasing the number of rotations on routes like Le Havre - Portsmouth we will be able to meet the Department for Transport’s Brexit requirement”. “We will also work hard to minimise impact on existing Brittany Ferries freight customers and passengers, although there may be some changes to some sailing times, for which we apologise in advance”.


However, in case a Brexit-deal is agreed between the European Union ad the UK government, this contract wouldn't be enforced. Yet, Brittany Ferries would retain a certain amount of the contract as compensation.


In the case the contract was enforced, we can already assume Barfleur would offer two daily rotations on Poole - Cherbourg, which is hitherto unseen since 2010. Armorique is also supposed to offer up to two to three further weekly rotations from Plymouth. Eventually, Normandie could offer up to four further weekly rotations between Le Havre and Portsmouth. It means an extra-ship would have to be chartered to operate the six remaining extra weekly rotations.


Meanwhile, the company fearing a drop in its UK - Spain traffics, MN Pelican is planned to end its Poole - Bilbao service on 1st April. Eventually, the expected introduction of Honfleur on 9th July would cause the laid-up of Etretat on the same day.


More to come in the coming weeks.

M/V Normandie leaving Portsmouth bound to Le Havre. Once transferred to the Le Havre - Portsmouth route, she is believed to operate further rotations than planned thanks to this contract.