Eurotunnel today reinforced support for its wholly-owned MyFerryLink operation by confirming it will appeal against a ruling by the UK competition watchdog that it should close by the end of the year.
The company which runs the Channel Tunnel today reported a 31% rise in revenues at the ferry arm to €39 million in the first half of 2014.
Overall Eurotunnel revenues rose by 8% to €559 million with operating profits up by 6% to €216 million.
Eurotunnel described MyFerryLink – which runs the former SeaFrance ferries Berlioz and Rodin from Dover – as a “credible alternative” in the cross-channel market.
“Freight traffic has leapt by 30% despite the series of negative announcements from the Competition and Markets Authority, which is a clear indication of customer support for MyFerryLink,” the company said.
“For cars, a continuing lack of awareness of MyFerryLink is slowing its progression.
“It is on behalf of the customers who are attracted in significant numbers to the quality service offered by this maritime operator that Eurotunnel is appealing the prohibition, decreed by the CMA, from operating out of Dover.
“This decision, if it is confirmed, would lead immediately to a reduction in consumer choice across the Channel and would probably increase prices for consumers.”
The CMA ruled in June that the ferry arm must cease operating on the Dover-Calais route in six months time.
First-half revenues from Shuttle services through the Channel Tunnel increased by 6%, with the number of cars carried up by 5% to more than 1.1 million vehicles to give a market share of 54% in a “slightly growing” cross-channel market.
“Eurotunnel continues to benefit from the upturn in the UK economy and to attract customers with its frequent shuttle departures. In a growing market, Eurotunnel has maintained its established market share at 38%,” the company said.
Revenues from the railway network increased by 3%, although Eurostar traffic was affected in the spring by a SNCF strike in France which put people off travelling to the Continent by rail.
Eurotunnel chairman and chief executive Jacques Gounon predicted that new rules affecting sulphur emissions from ferries from January would benefit the tunnel.
He said: “All areas of our business are growing. The fixed link achieved a record level of operating margin in a very active cross-Channel market.
“The new environmental constraints which will be imposed on the ferry companies from 1 January 2015 reinforce the attractiveness of the fixed link.”
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