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 A daily walk 'can add seven years to your life'
- 2 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 3 Chrissie Hynde says women who 'wear high heels and dress provocatively entice rapists'
- 4 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
- 5 News agency criticised for describing Amal Clooney as 'actor's wife' in coverage of human rights trial
University to mark down students who say 'illegal immigrants' in class
Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
The nine most warmongering countries in the world revealed
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
VMAs 2015: Kanye West to run for US president, Nicki Minaj calls out Miley Cyrus and the rest of tonight's winners
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...