Saturday, 21 September 2013

Away all boats?

On the two occasions I have visited Belgium other than for work we have taken the ferry from Dover to Calais or Dunkirk and driven to Belgium. So it came as no surprise to hear that Trans Europa Ferries, which operated a direct service from Ramsgate to Ostend, had gone bankrupt.
Stiff competition from the Dover-Calais/Dunkirk boats, not to mention the channel tunnel and low-cost airlines proved too much for the Slovenian-owned firm. With easy access to Belgium through France, one has to ask if a direct England to Belgium ferry is really necessary.

Meanwhile, further up the east coast, politicians are hoping to re-establish a ferry link between the UK and Norway after the DFDS Newcastle-Bergen service was scrapped. Alison McInnes MSP has stated on her website that she is keen to see an Aberdeen-Bergen ferry established. Such a route would be a shorter sea crossing than the route from Newcastle and it would cut journey times for car drivers travelling from Scotland who would otherwise face a long journey via England and Denmark. The only problems facing potential operators are high fuel prices and those pesky low fares airlines. Aberdeen already has ferry services operating to the Orkney and Shetland islands, so there are already facilities to handle ferries, it would just require the acquisition of a vessel. Perhaps even Northlink themselves could take on the challenge of running across to Norway?

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