Eurotunnel has made a preliminary submission to run the two Channel ports – owned by the Nord Pas-de-Calais Regional Council – within the framework of a new 50-year public service concession.
The Côte d’Opale Chamber of Commerce, which currently runs Calais and Boulogne, also declared its interest in operating the new concession, Lloyd's Loading List reports.
At the moment, P&O and DFDS are in hefty competition with Eurotunnel on market shares following the Eurotunnel takeover of the ships from the bankrupt Seafrance.
According to P&O spokesman Brian Rees Eurotunnel taking the reins at Calais would represent “a very serious conflict of interests”, raising competition and regulation issues.
He said:“We’d have a situation where the group with the biggest share of cross-Channel trade [Eurotunnel] would be running a key port, where its own ferries are operating [as My Ferry Link] and where P&O Ferries, its biggest competitor, has the core of its business.