Brittany Ferries urges French government to prepare for Brexit

Brittany Ferries urges French government to prepare for Brexit

Brittany Ferries today reveals passenger, freight and financial results for 2018.

The company carried 2.6 million passengers on all routes last year, an increase of 1.4 per cent, and made a profit of €8 million on a total turnover of €442 million.

The encouraging results come despite the pound being worth around 15 per cent less than it was two years ago.

That has proved challenging for a company whose income is generated in pounds sterling, with a cost-base in euros.

Further challenges have come from on-going Brexit uncertainty and the effect this is having on summer bookings.

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Brittany Ferries is a French company, but its success is largely built on British customers.

In total, 85 per cent of passengers come from the UK.

It has therefore used its 2018 results to reinforce an important message to French government: take urgent steps to ensure British holiday makers and freight move freely.

The regions of north west France depend upon us as a significant wealth generator.

Jean-Marc Roué, Brittany Ferries president, recently hosted Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French minister of Europe and foreign affairs.

Showing him around Roscoff port and its facilities, Roué talked at length about border controls and customs, as well as health and sanitary checks for goods arriving in France.

“Jean-Yves Le Drian told us that Roscoff will become a border post on the March 29th,” said Roué.

“In my view, the return of a border between France and the United Kingdom fully legitimises the return of dedicated air and border police. 

“These Police Aux Frontières would work alongside customs services in the same way they currently do in ports like St Malo, Cherbourg and Le Havre.

“It is only a short-term solution in the event of a hard Brexit, but I am counting on the minister to relay this proposal to the government”

Concerns in France come as planning to minimise traffic queues on the UK side intensifies.

Portsmouth, for example, is Brittany Ferries’ UK-hub.

Recent exercises led by the local resilience forum suggest that carefully managed traffic solutions can prevent freight delays en-route to the port, should the UK leave the EU without a deal on March 29th. 

“We made a profit in 2018 thanks to a combination of careful management and structural change,” added Christophe Mathieu, chief executive of Brittany Ferries.

“Our positive results come despite the pound being worth significantly less than it was two years ago and as Brexit uncertainty weakens demand for trips to France and Spain this summer.

“We are now preparing for the years ahead.

“We have invested in three new ships and have made a clear commitment to the regions we serve.

“The challenge now is one for the French government in particular.

“All steps must be taken to ensure we have the right frameworks in place in Brittany and Normandy post-Brexit to keep goods flowing freely and to ensure our British passengers have the confidence to sail this summer and in the years to come.”