Dunkirk Traffic Grows Fourfold in Past Decade

The Dover-Dunkirk route is now firmly established as the UK’s second most popular ferry route, while the ferry industry as a whole shows signs of a determined turnaround.

Also, racers will be well catered for in northern Europe when a new 200mph circuit opens, not that far from Calais. New border controls in Sweden could last for the next six months. Speed limit cuts in Madrid during high pollution with possibly more restrictions to come.

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DOVER-DUNKIRK IS SECOND MOST POPULAR FERRY ROUTE

Dunkirk traffic quadruples in past decade as ferries overall reverse decline.

dunkirk calais

Ferry travel is on the up again after a decade of decline, and nowhere is it more evident than the DFDS Dunkirk route.

From the UK’s tenth most popular route in 2004, Dover-Dunkirk is now behind only Dover-Calais according to new figures from the Department for Transport.

However, at 2.3 million annual journeys Dunkirk still has some way to go to directly challenge the 10.4 million heading through Calais.

Dover-Dunkirk takes thirty minutes longer than Dover-Calais but drops passengers 36km (22 miles) closer to the Belgian border, or 48km (30 miles) nearer than Eurotunnel.

It’s particularly handy for drivers heading to northern Europe.

The sole Dunkirk operator DFDS also charges the same fares as its sister Dover-Calais route.

The issue at Dunkirk is port capacity. An on-going project to reduce turnaround time aims to boost sailings from their current twelve each day.

Meanwhile, other figures published this week in the DfT’s Sea Passenger Statistics 2014 show ferry travel overall has consolidated last year’s upswing, the first since 1997.

International Short Sea Crossings – ferry journeys between the UK, Ireland and the Continent – increased by 4% last year to 2.3 million. Between 1997 and 2012 the average decline was 5%.

The total number of crossings was 3.9 million in 1950 when records began. It peaked at 36.7 million in 1994 when the Channel Tunnel opened.

Last year the Channel Tunnel had 21 million crossings, up 3% on 2013 but still 309,000 behind the total number of ferry journeys.

The growth in ferries was seen at all ports, particularly from the south coast which was up 5% to 2.9m trips.

This was the second consecutive annual increase after a decade of decline. Brittany Ferries Portsmouth-Caen is the UK’s third most popular ferry route at 1 million crossings behind Holyhead-Dublin at 1.9 million.

Hull and Dover were both up 4%.

France accounts for 75% of all international ferry journeys though there were 15% fewer last year than in 2004. Overall ‘International Short Sea Crossings’ declined by 17% in the same period.

The summer season between July and September is the busiest time of the year. It accounted for a third of all journeys last year, more than twice as many as the quietest period, January to March.

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Motor Sport Vision, the UK company behind Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Cadwell Park and Oulton Park is expanding onto the Continent with a new circuit at Laon, beside the A26 Calais autoroute in northern France (the mediaeval, walled town coincidentally mentioned in last week’s report on the A2 Paris-Brussels upgrade). The five-mile track with a 200mph main straight, on a disused former military airfield, should open in April 2018. Laon is 160 miles from Calais, 170 miles from Spa-Francorchamps and 270 miles from the Nurburgring. See more.

Motor Sport Vision, the UK company behind Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Cadwell Park and Oulton Park is expanding onto the Continent with a new circuit at Laon, beside the A26 Calais autoroute in northern France (the mediaeval, walled town coincidentally mentioned in last week’s report on the A2 Paris-Brussels upgrade). The five-mile track with a 200mph main straight, on a disused former military airfield, should open in April 2018. Laon, already a popular destination with British car enthusiasts thanks to the annual Circuit Historique de Laon classic car rally, is 160 miles from Calais (and 170 miles from Spa-Francorchamps and 270 miles from the Nurburgring). See more.

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roundup: SWEDEN follows Germany in reinstating border controls, as the number of migrants entering the country in the past ten weeks equals those seen in the whole of 2014 reports Sweden Radio. From noon today, anyone entering the country from the south or south west will need a valid ID or passport, especially across the Oresund Link, or on ferries from Denmark or Germany. The controls will last at least for the next ten days but are likely to be renewed at twenty day intervals, possibly for the next six months. Denmark says it has no plans to reintroduce its own border controls yet but will watch the Sweden situation ‘closely’. SPAIN. Long delays this morning reports El Pais as a pollution spike saw the city council cut the speed limit to 70kmh on the M-30 ring and other major roads. Eleven of the city’s 24 monitoring stations saw raised levels for nitrogen dioxide. If the pollution persists, non-residents will be banned from parking in the city centre. The Spanish capital confirmed last week a new regime for pollution episodes introduced in March: the ultimate steps are alternate traffic in the city centre then all measures expanded to include the entire capital region. EV (and Ferrari)driver @Purpperil wondered on twitter yesterday if the speed limit cut should also apply to zero emission cars…

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