Having not been blessed with the best of fortunes since the purpose built ferries Cote D’Albatre and Seven Sisters arrived on the Newhaven-Dieppe route in 2006, thanks to the unrest at Calais the route broke its own monthly freight record by 98% in July. Indeed, cumulatively since the beginning of 2015, the company transported 30,630 units against 20,000 recorded in the same period in 2014, or 38% more. a third round trip per day for the summer season has proved itself to be worthwhile and, due to the problems at Calais, tourist vehicle carryings totalled 24,117 in July. Since the introduction of the new schedules, DFDS recorded 33,455 passengers in May, 35,429 in June and 62,184 in July. Cumulatively since the beginning of the year, 190,000 people travelled with Transmanche by late July with many sailings being full, to the detriment of turn up and go foot passengers. The route’s overall performance will be reviewed in October with regard to the 2015- 2016 schedules.
The route had also been at risk, with the current contract between the Syndicat Mixte de Promotion de l’Activité Transmanche (SMPAT) and operator DFDS due to expire at the end of 2015.
However, SMPAT (consisting of the local authority and trade representatives in the Dieppe region) will operate the service itself from 2016. Further along the coast, UK based ferry operator P&O Ferries reported that the number of passengers crossing the English Channel on its services in August 2015 was the highest for any month since 2003.
P&O Ferries carried 1,177,053 people between Dover and Calais that month, a 2.5% increase on the previous year and the highest monthly figure since August 2003. The news follows a strong performance in July in which P&O Ferries carried more units of freight across the English Channel, 123,000 in total, than in any other month in its modern history.
Industrial action by French seamen which closed the port of Calais for several days during the peak season has not affected the upward trajectory. How long the European Seaway remains in service remains to be seen whilst the former MFL ship Nord Pas De Calais remains laid up at Dunkirk.
Brittany Ferries has also reported that this summer was its busiest ever as it carried more than half a million passengers.