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New Dover-Calais ferry starts

Dover, UK: My Ferry Link, a new cross-Channel ferry service between Calais and Dover, using three Eurotunnel-owned, ex-SeaFrance vessels, will start before regulators in the UK and France decide whether  or not the acquistion of the ships by Eurotunnel breaches competition rules.

The service, operated by a workers’ co-operative under the business name My Ferry Link, is due to sail at end of the month, says company director Jean-Michel Giguet.

The UK Office of Fair Trading has issued ’an invitation to comment,’ as part of an investigation expected to conclude on 28 September. The OFT may refer Eurotunnel’s acquistion of the vessels to the Competition Commission.

An investigation by the Autorité de la Concurrence in France began in May but the regulator has not given any indication when it will make a judgement.

“What has to be made clear is that the workers’ co-operative running My Ferry Link is totally distinct from Eurotunnel. The new service is not a merged operation whatsoever,” Giguet says.

“My Ferry Link is operating and manning the vessels and is also responsible for sales and marketing.

“Eurotunnel’s role is limited to leasing the vessels, via its subsidiary, Eurotransmanche, to the co-operative. If Eurotunnel wants to increase its market share it could do by increasing the frequencies of its shuttles.”