TODAY: Will ferry – and Eurotunnel – fares soar next year after new anti-pollution rules?
NEWS: Spain takes exception to France’s upcoming tightening of driver’s weekly rest regulations. Bosnia still recovering after recent flood disaster. Polish researchers work on remote alcohol testing.
NOTE: Italian filling stations possibly cash only for the next week.
GIBRALTAR FRONTIER WATCH: delays of up to 1h25 late morning but quiet before and since.
ALL CROSS-CHANNEL FARES SET TO SOAR
Ferries and Eurotunnel to increase prices next year due to new fuel regulations.
Is the ferry industry – and its passengers – about to fall victim to ‘cry wolf’ syndrome?
Perhaps nobody listens to dire corporate warnings any more after all the fuss over the minimum wage dissipated into record employment.
Nevertheless, for the last few years operators have been saying that new low-sulphur fuel – due to become mandatory within the EU on 1 January 2015 – will lead to higher ferry fares, cancelled routes, massive job losses, thousands more trucks on the roads and, as a consequence, millions of tonnes of extra emissions.
DFDS has already announced the end of its Harwich-Esbjerg ferry – the last UK-Scandinavia route – in part due to the new fuel regs.
According to the UK Chamber of Shipping the new fuel will see costs rise by 30%.
At one point the British government sounded quite sympathetic. It told the Transport Select Committee in 2012 it supported the looser sulphur limits negotiated through the International Maritime Organisation. Since then its stance has softened. In a parliamentary debate this week, shipping minister Stephen Hammond told MPs, ‘It is not an action that has happened today, yesterday or even last year, it is something the shipping industry has had over six years to get its head around.’
The problem is that ships’ fuel – bunker oil, ‘Crud Oil’ – really is vile stuff, barely removed from tar. You might have thought the operators would have weaned themselves away from it out of a sense of social responsibility. Instead the message is that the European shipping industry is not viable without it.
The sting in the tail is that passengers who use Eurotunnel will also see fares rise. Spokesman John O’Keefe told the Dover Express earlier this month, ‘The whole purpose of the tunnel is as a premium service offering speed, so it is priced at a premium. If the ferries push prices up, our prices will be pushed up too.’
roundup: BOSNIA. The Brcko crossing is still closed for traffic while loaded vehicles are still prohibited at Bosanski-Samac following the recent flooding. Yesterday saw hour-long queues at Doljani. See a roundup of current traffic conditions here. SPAIN. Hauliers will complain to the European Commission about new weekly rest rules in France. It had been reported that from 1 June drivers were unable to take extended weekly rest inside vehicles. It now emerges the regulation is still under consideration. POLAND. A research trio from Warsaw’s Military University of Technology have completed second stage tests on a remote, laser device that measures alcohol vapour in car cabins, down to 0.1g/l. The roadside applications are obvious. Nearby law enforcement would be notified for further investigations. The device now moves to the prototype stage.