Brittany Ferries predicts freight boost after 'season to forget' for passenger travel

Plymouth-headquartered firm is confident about increase in goods crossing the Channel in 2021.

Brittany Ferries is predicting an increase in freight traffic between the UK and the Continent after suffering a major decline in passenger traffic.

The Plymouth-headquartered company said it had experienced “a season to forget” for passenger traffic, following the Government’s imposition of two-week quarantine restrictions on people arriving in the UK from France and Spain.

But Brittany Ferries stressed that freight has kept on rolling. The company - which serves France, Spain, Ireland and the UK - has had a “steady” 2020 and is looking forward to 2021 with positive signs from the marketplace.

Several major customers have indicated their intention to increase business next year, the firm said. This could amount to an additional 15% of freight traffic on routes connecting the UK with Spain and 15% on its Ireland to Spain link. In total the company carries about 210,000 units across its 12-route network each year.

“The Brittany Ferries freight team has worked tirelessly throughout the Covid-19 crisis to guarantee the supply of essential products like food and medicine,” said Simon Wagstaff, group freight director for the company. “It’s an important part of our portfolio because freight comprises around a quarter of the company’s annual turnover and our customers rely on us to maintain essential cross-border links.

“Based on the reaction of the marketplace - and the support of our loyal freight customers – we are looking forward to a positive 2021.”

Brittany Ferries opened a sea route connecting Ireland with Spain for the first time in 2018. Originally operating from Cork to Santander, the operation moved to Rosslare-Bilbao earlier in 2020 in response to demand from freight customers.

That decision has borne fruit and demand is expected to continue to grow as more companies in Ireland and the Iberian peninsula look for a Brexit by-pass to escape the UK land-bridge.

Cork meanwhile continues to serve passenger traffic, with the company’s flagship cruise ferry Pont-Aven returning in 2021 for the holiday season. The service has now connected with company headquarters in Roscoff, Brittany, for more than 40 years.

More positive news for freight concerns routes connecting the UK with Spain. The company’s newest vessel, Galicia, will enter service in December with a vast garage hosting more than 3km of lanes, accommodating up to 155 trailers.

Source: Business Live