Brittany Ferries has now outlined the steps being taken to change their ferry sailing schedules in 2019, following a contract agreed with the Department for Transport to ease potential problems in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Nineteen weekly return-sailings will be added to three routes on the western channel - Le Havre to Portsmouth, Cherbourg to Poole and Roscoff to Plymouth. This request from the Department for Transport will allow more space for lorries. These changes will come into effect from the 29th March 2019, the day the UK is currently scheduled to officially leave the European Union. This will provide a 50% increase in freight capacity on these routes and a 30% increase overall on the Western Channel.
Christopher Mathieu, Brittany Ferries CEO said;
"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 the 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."
Brittany Ferries operate a dozen ships and 11 routes, linking the UK with France and Spain, France with Ireland and Ireland with Spain. It carries around 2.5 million passengers every year as well as around 210,000 freight units.
A spokesperson for the DtF has said;
"This significant extra capacity is a small but important element of the Department for Transport's no-deal Brexit planning. While remaining committed to working to ensure a deal is reached successfully, the department is helping ensure the rest of Government are fully prepared for a range of scenarios, including a particular focus on a potential no-deal and to mitigate the impact of any Brexit outcome on all transport modes."
In the last year, Brittany Ferries has confirmed a €450 m investment in fleet renewal. Three new ships will be delivered post-Brexit. The first, Honfleur, will be the first ferry powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas) to sail on the English Channel. She enters service in summer 2019 and will operate on the company’s busiest route between Portsmouth and Caen.