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New version of SeaFrance to start on Dover-Calais crossing

Dover, UK: Jean-Michel Giguet is heading the co-op which will operate the former SeaFrance vessels on the Dover-Calais crossing.  No decision has been made on a name for the orgnisation but it may retain the SeaFrance name.

Operations are expected to start in the summer in late July or early August with two vessels – the Rodin and the Berlioz – each operating four round-trips daily on the Calais-Dover crossing.

“It is very important for us from a marketing point of view, as well as for the image of the new company to commence operations during a peak period and that is what working towards now,” Giguet told Lloyd’s Loading List.com

SeaFrance’s third vessel, the Nord Pas de Calais freighter will re-enter service when overhaul work has been completed but no date has been set.

Eurotunnel, the company that operates the Channel tunnel between England and France will take over the three ferries – the Berlioz, the Rodin and the Nord-Pas-de-Calais – via a new special purpose vehicle known as Eurotransmanche. Eurotunnel has not taken delivery of the three SeaFrance vessels but Giguet says the administrative process to transfer the vessels to Eurotunnel is still going on.  “There is nothing unusual in this. As with any transaction, the paperwork can be time-consuming and there are procedures to respect,” he says.

It is likely that a Eurotunnel subsidiary will handle the commercial side of the new ferry operation, with the workers’ co-operative focusing on the shipping and seafaring side of the business.

The Dover to Calais route is served by P&O and a joint venture between Denmark’s DFDS and France’s LD Lines. DFDS also operates between Dover and Dunkirk, near Calais.