Dover - Calais Operators await Competition Appeal

The long running saga which commenced when the French RoRo freight and passenger ferry service, SeaFrance, went into receivership in 2010 and bankruptcy a year later, looks set to take another twist as the appeal by Eurotunnell to save its own cross channel sea borne service, MyFerryLink, has closed whilst a decision is reached.

The latest appeal, begun on Monday November 24, has now finished and the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) adjourned to consider its verdict. In June the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) barred Groupe Eurotunnel from operating the service as the combined ferry and subsea operations put too much cross channel traffic in the hands of a single operator. Eurotunnel was told to divest itself of MyFerryLink or close the operation.

The appeal centres around whether the takeover of SeaFrance’s assets, principally three ferries was in the form of an acquisition or merger and whether the CMA was entitled to stop operations. The verdict was originally not expected to be delivered until the New Year but there are indications that the decision may be announced before Christmas.

Even if the CAT upholds the CMA decision the Order banning MyFerryLink from running services gives the company six months to comply so services could continue to run during that period however things turn out.

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