There is a need for clarification about Brexit, says DFDS Chief Executive Niels Smedegaard, which in the third quarter noted how freight volumes on the English routes are now being affected. "It is a blanket of uncertainty that covers most of Europe right now," he tells ShippingWatch.
British P&O Ferries is making big inroads into the market for freight between Gothenburg and the UK. The company's service from Gothenburg, which includes reloading, has almost doubled its volumes during the first year.
2016 could turn become a very good year on the English Channel for DFDS. The carrier is raising the prices on the crossing which, in the second half of 2015, was plagued by occupied ferries, migrant crowds in the tunnel and reduced capacity.
Never before has P&O Ferries transported so many units of cargo across the English Channel as in 2015 in which both the third and the fourth quarters set records. Conflicts during the peak season did not impact the positive developments.
The case concerning ferry operations in the English Channel has been going back and forth for years. MyFerryLink was hoping to operate a ferry on the Channel, but the UK Supreme Court has now confirmed a ruling barring the carrier from doing so.
"We have not been fidgeting with the numbers," says DFDS CEO Niels Smedegaard after the carrier, for the third time this year, upgraded its full-year projections for 2015. Among other factors, earnings on the English Channel have soared after MyFerryLink was forced out.
The dispute on the English Channel was long and hard, and DFDS CEO Niels Smedegaard considered throwing in the towel several times in the process, he says in an interview with ShippingWatch. The opposing party, Eurotunnel, expected the Danish competitor to surrender.
Comprehensive damages to the two coming DFDS ferries, along with delayed delivery to Eurotunnel, have now led to a considerable claim against the French seafarers under SCOP Seafrance. Eurotunnel calculates the combined damages to more than EUR 20 million.
The smoke has cleared on the English Channel after an, at times, violent conflict between the French SCOP seafarers and DFDS - a conflict in which emergency flares as well as chutes were used. But DFDS holds yet another option to limit the seafarers' power.
DFDS does not expect an answer anytime soon to its offer to rehire 202 laid off French seafarers who lost their job in relation to MyFerryLink's closure. But the Danish carrier stresses that the seafarers and SCOP must make the next move.
The attempt by DFDS to take over parts of the controversial company SCOP SeaFrance, which has operated ferry services on the English Channel in competition with the Danish carrier, did not come to fruition.
Next week could make the protests this Tuesday against DFDS in the French city of Calais seem like a walk in the park, warns a union boss, who demands that Eurotunnel's deal with DFDS for two ferries be taken off the table by July 1st.
DFDS CEO Niels Smedegaard has met with France's Minister of Transportation to discuss developments in the English Channel. DFDS will ensure 200 jobs for French employees. "No matter what, this will affect employment," Niels Smedegaard tells ShippingWatch.
In spite of strong pressure from employees on the MyFerryLink ferries leased by Eurotunnel to DFDS, there is no alternative to the agreement with the Danish carrier, says the tunnel operator after a tough day with massive unrest at the English Channel crossing.