Killed off by the LoCo’sBack to Forum
Anonymous27 Sep 2014
The Harwich – Esbjerg route of DFDS Seaways is to end shortly. Particularly poignant for me as my first seagoing job was on the Tor Scandianvia plying the Hrwich -Esbjerg and Harwich – Goteborg routes. Had some great times on the DFDS ships and made many friends, some still friends to this day. DFDS stated a couple of years ago that the likes of Ryanair were having a significant impact on passenger numbers and they were struggling to compete.27 Sep 2014
That is a real shame. Travelling by slow ferry is probably my favourite form of transport. I have many memories of the ferry between Larne and Stranraer or Cairnryan and being terrified when the foghorn (is that the word?) went off on departure. And unlike many I do not suffer from seasickness. I remember a really rough crossing from the Isle of Man to Belfast and while everyone was indoors being sick I was out on the deck enjoying every minute of it!27 Sep 2014
Absolutely Simon, the new emission rules were the final straw. For political reasons the ferry company’s are shouting about the new emission rules hoping for a last minute reprieve. However the LoCo’s have had a significant impact on pretty much all ferry routes bar the Dover Straights routes. The DFDS Portsmouth-Cherbourg route is also closing. Ryanair, Easyjet etc have opened up France and the Scandinavian countries to an extent the flight is cheaper than the petrol to and from the port. The winners are the travelling public, the airlines and iairports and the car hire companys, the losers are the likes of DFDS, Sea France and P&O and of course their staff and the staff at the ports.
A close eye is on Brittany Ferries, the new emission rules causing them to question their current business model and if it is sustainable. However it would have been perfectly sustainable if they did not have the loco’s as their no1 competitor. It is worth taking in to account the ferry company’s have taken some monster business hits over the past few years, not only the airlines, but ever rising fuel prices, duty free going, extra security due to the punitive rules from the UK government if they dock with a few illegals onboard, then the new emission rules and sharp rises in UK water pilotage charges. Not surprising they are gradually going astern back to port never to sail again.
I guess the scenario is not unlike the seventies with the Boeing 707 causing the demise of the great liners of Cunard, P&O, Union Castle line, now it s the B737 doing it for their smaller brethren.
Your right Alexpo, it is a shame, and I can see in the future once the Greek money troubles are over similar happening to travel around the Greek Islands. The days of the passenger ferry are diminishing, it is freight on ships now, with pax on planes.
Second hand Ferries for sale, all sorts of shapes sizes and ages, all at Rock bottom prices as nobody is buying.27 Sep 2014
It’s a shame, however all business models change over time. It used to be that people used ferries to save money and airlines were for the rich. Not any more though.
Also the airlines have invested in new efficient planes, many ferry companies are still using the same vessels they were using 20 years ago (hence the problems with emissions law).
Doesn’t mean that it’s the end though, as the same article says ferry use went up last year for the first time this decade.27 Sep 2014
Harwich – Esbjerg is a great loss for us on our regular car trips to Norway. It now means Harwich – Hook of Holland ferry followed by a long journey up the autobahn through northern Germany. However, we heard last month a rumour about a possible re-introduction of the Bergen/Stavanger to the UK sailings after a gap of about 20 years. Fjordline have recently introduced fast “traditional” ferries between Bergen and Denmark so possibly an extension of this route. Here’s hoping!27 Sep 2014
It’s not just the LCCs, it’s also down to changing travel requirements.
Similar situation with mainland Europe’s night sleeper trains which have been cutback in previous years.
This winter sees more cuts, this time from DB-owned CityNightLine which is cutting all sleeper trains to Copenhagen from mainland Europe.
Fortunately here the Caledonian Sleeper has a bright future as we have already reported.
Also the Harwich-Hook route has been revitalised thanks to two new modern and large ferries.27 Sep 2014
Got off the Stena ferry at Harwich last night. Such a very pleasant way of travelling if time is not one of your constraints and you want your car with you. The “captain’s suite” which has windows just below the bridge, a mini bar and a double bed makes even a CX suite seem tame in comparison.
Must have been at least a dozen other passengers on board, which makes me nervous about the feasibility of the route although the freight made up the bulk of the cargo.27 Sep 2014
Not sure it really is similar Alex.
Last time I saw the figures, Scotrail was getting a subsidy of about £75 a passenger from the taxpayer for the Caledonian Sleeper. What subsidy does DFDS get for its ferries?27 Sep 2014
From my recollection North Sea in 1985:-
(I have only included to/from ports north of the Thames and South of Berwick)
Harwich to Esbjerg
Harwich to Gothenburg
Harwich to Hamburg
Harwich to Hoek of Holland
Harwich to Oslo via Hirtshalls
Hull to Rotterdam
Hull to Zeebrugge
Newcastle to Bergen
Newcastle to Esbjerg
Newcastle to Gothenburg
Newcastle to Amsterdam
North Sea in 2015:-
Harwich to Hoek van Holland
Hull to Rotterdam
Hull to Zeebrugge
Newcastle to Stavanger
Newcastle to Amsterdam
So although perhaps more people are using ferries now than in the past, they are not crossing the North Sea.29 Sep 2014
From my years ago experience we had two types of passenger, those going from A to B, and those using the crossing as a short break. When I worked for DFDS back in the eighties off peak we virtuyally gave the tickets away, the revenue coming from catering/cabins/shopping and entertainment such as Casino, Cinema and Clay Pidgeon Shooting (weather permitting). The onboard spend per head by the trippers was generally higher than those using the ships as a form of transport by almost 50%.
So I guess the answer Simon is those wanting to take the car, and trippers.29 Sep 2014
There was also Imingham Mr. Michael.
I shipped my motorcycle to Reykjavik from there via Bergen and Orkney I think, I could have gone with the ferry but as am prone to seasickness (besides the 5 days) I chose to fly later.29 Sep 2014