Union Threatens Calais Blockade Over Ferry Sale

Eurotunnel to sell freight-ferry after Supreme Court backs original competition ruling barring it from operating at Dover – but how will the unions react?

Also, a random Koenigsegg Regera. The 2016 France ‘jam calendar’ is published. More migrant trouble on the Calais ring road. Dutch super-hot on closed lane fines.

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UNION THREATENS CALAIS BLOCKADE OVER FERRY SALE

Eurotunnel to sell remaining MyFerryLink ferry with loss of 130 jobs after court ruling.

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Huge relief no doubt at the CMA Competition and Markets Authority this morning after the Supreme Court backed its original 2013 ruling barring Eurotunnel from operating ferries at Dover.

The CMA said it would work ‘constructively’ with Eurotunnel on the operation of the remaining freight-only ship in the firm’s ownership.

However, the Channel Tunnel operator said immediately it will sell the Nord-Pas-de-Calais, formerly operated by now-defunct MyFerryLink which it backed:

‘MyFerryLink had hoped to restart an activity with the freight only ferry, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, which would have ensured 130 jobs. As the decision by the Supreme Court no longer permits this, the Eurotunnel Group will put its last ship, the Nord-Pas-de-Calais, up for sale,’ it said.

Predictably, the unions are now threatening to blockade Calais port according to Nord Littoral and will meet tomorrow morning (Thursday) to decide the next steps.

Of the 487 workers employed by MyFerryLink on its sole Dover-Calais service, 402 were reemployed by DFDS and Eurotunnel after the firm folded in June.

DFDS leased two of the firm’s three ships which will start on its Dover-Calais route in February 2016.

The case was originally referred to the CMA by the OFT Office for Fair Trading in October 2012 after Eurotunnel bought three ferries from the defunct SeaFrance. They were operated by a workers’ collective called SCOP, staffed by former SeaFrance employees.

The following June, the CMA decided to bar Eurotunnel ferries from Dover. Since then there have been a succession of court cases, most recently in May 2015 when the Court of Appeal ruled in MyFerryLink’s favour.

The legal issue at stake was whether Eurotunnel bought just assets from SeaFrance, or whether it had effectively acquired a going concern, in which case the deal would constitute a merger and be subject to CMA jurisdiction.

In pursuing the case to the Supreme Court, CMA said it was ‘seeking greater legal clarity for the wider benefit of the UK merger regime’.

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Koenigsegg Regera. More later.

A Koenigsegg Regera sits on the hypercar maker’s test track in south west Sweden. The 1500bhp hyrid was launched at this year’s Geneva Motor Show and costs a reported £1.25 million. The Regera features on one of several new wallpapers out this week. See more at Koenigsegg.

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roundup: FRANCE. The annual ‘jam calendar’ was published today by national traffic monitor Bison Fute. There are four Black Days, all Saturdays (aka Black Saturdays) but only two are for the entire country, and they are both in the summer: Saturday 30 July and Saturday 6 August, as drivers head away for the holidays (the latter day also has black traffic heading home from the Mediterranean coast). The two winter super-busy days are Saturday 13 February and Saturday 20 February when traffic will be concentrated into the Rhone-Alps region in the south east. Hope for snow in the mountains but clear roads: read what happened on the last winter Black Saturday (and an overall look at summer 2015 traffic). CALAIS MIGRANT CRISIS. More trouble on the port access road this morning, for the first time since Wednesday 2 December. Migrants clashed with police on the N216/A216 ‘Rocade’ ring road beside The Jungle camp. The road was shut – and the A16 and A26 junctions – from around 10:00 local time until 13:00. It follows calls this week from the Road Haulage Association and its Dutch equivalent TLN for the French army deployed at Calais saying police are overwhelmed. The Rocade was blocked again this afternoon for an hour though it is still not clear what the problem was. NETHERLANDS. The Dutch are increasingly super-hot on not driving in lanes marked with red crosses. The crosses are used in case of road works or accidents and are signed on overhead gantries. A trial in Rotterdam – managed by national roads agency Rijkswaterstaat – saw 300 drivers fined says DKV-Benelux. The penalty was increased to €237 earlier this year reports De Telegraaf.

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