Brussels takes tough stance on ferry joint venture
Friday 06 June 1997
Brussels officials indicated yesterday that they feared the emergence of a cross-Channel duopoly in which Le Shuttle and the new ferry venture might collaborate to fix prices.
"What we want to avoid is nice little arrangements which would ultimately push up fares for passengers," said one EC source. Officials said the Commission and Britain's regulatory authorities, which are also considering the deal, shared the same concerns.
The Commission, which has the final say over the link-up, will write to the two ferry operators next week outlining "serious doubts" according to officials. While rejection is unlikely the Commission is expected to demand compliance with certain conditions and next week's letter from the Competition Commissioner, Karel van Miert, will outline the guarantees he will want before delivering approval to the alliance. P&O Stena, as the cooperative joint venture would be known, could be asked to operate independently of the two parent companies.
The companies are hoping to have their Dover to Calais passenger service up and running by the start of the peak summer season. Together Stena and P&O would control about 40 per cent of the tourist vehicle market, putting the venture on a par with Eurotunnel, the Channel tunnel operator, in terms of market share.
The joint venture would maintain services on the Dover- Zeebrugge route for freight as well as Stena's Newhaven to Dieppe line. Most of the focus, however, would be on the Dover to Calais operation where six multi-purpose vessels would run departures every 45 minutes.
Brussels received notification of the ferry alliance last October and has since received comments from "wide-ranging sources", officials said. They stressed that neither the Commission nor the Monopolies & Mergers Commission had completed their inquiries.
Meanwhile, ferry operators protested yesterday that the EU's planned abolition of duty- free sales from June 1999 would cost 50,000 jobs. The European Shipowners' Association said ferry routes faced closure and ticket prices would be driven up by the move.
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 3 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...
£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...
£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A prestigious leading professiona...