• France's news in English

Eurotunnel's cross-Channel ferry link banned

Ben McPartland · 20 May 2014, 12:57

Published: 20 May 2014 12:57 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority confirmed on Tuesday an earlier decision to ban Eurotunnel from running its cross-Channel ferry service MyFerryLink, that was formally Sea France.

The ban on operating the three MyFerryLink boats threatens around 600 jobs, 100 of which are in Dover and comes just before the start of the peak summer season.

French daily Le Parisien described the ban, which will not be enforced immediately, as a "blow from Trafalgar".

Eurotunnel bought the boats after SeaFrance went into administration in 2012, before re-launching the service under the name MyFerryLink.

Their grounds for taking the action is that they believe Eurotunnel has gained too big a share of the cross-Channel market, mainly due to the fact it owns the Channel Tunnel roll-on/roll-off rail service.

The UK’s Competition Commission says Eurotunnel's purchase of the Sea France boats, was more a takeover deal for a company, rather than just assets and was made to prevent rival company DFDS from buying the ferries.

The commission believes the likely outcome of Eurotunnel’s takeover of the SeaFrance boats would be price rises for passengers and freight customers on the route.

An initial decision to ban MyFerryLink was taken in June last year but it was then overturned on appeal. However Tuesday’s verdict turned the tide once more and will mean Eurotunnel likely having to sell off at least two of the ferries.

However that would need clearance from the French commercial court, which previously banned the sale of ferries.

“Since we don’t have the right to sell the ferries, they will simply be taken out of circulation and dry docked,” a Eurotunnel spokesman has said in the past.

Story continues below…

Eurotunnel arguedsthat the UK authorities had not taken into account changes in the market since it launched the service.

“Two years after the acquisition of three ferries and following the decision of the Appeal Tribunal, which rejected the original decision by the Competition Commission, Groupe Eurotunnel submitted to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that a material change of market had occurred, based upon the 12% growth since SeaFrance ceased its operations,” a statement from the company read.

"DFDS continues to operate successfully in the market, whereas the Competition Commission's original decision was based on the premise that DFDS would rapidly be forced to exit the market," the statement added.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France given wake up call as it bids for Brexit business
The business district 'La Defense' in Paris. Photo: AFP

France clearly has some work to do if it really wants to pinch business from the UK post-Brexit.

Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
Do you know the French word for throat-support? Photo: AFP

Word of warning: Don't translate French literally.

How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available