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Eurotunnel pulls out of French ports takeover

by Derek Johnson

The cross channel operator Eurotunnel has announced it is pulling out of a bid to take over the running of two French ports. The firm had said it was interested in operating Calais and Bolougne after helping to launch a new ferry service.

However the proposal has already been criticised by the Competition Commission for potentially pushing up prices to cross the channel. Derek Johnson explains.

Eurostar passenger services suspended

The French authorities have shut the A16 leading to the port of Calais and Eurotunnel. This will cause major delays to freight. Eurostar has suspended passenger services between Britain and France because of the weather. Lines in France are blocked by snow.

The company is advising passengers with tickets for today not to go to Ashford International or St Pancras, they say refunds will be paid.


Eurotunnel to challenge findings

Eurotunnel has said it is not surprised at the Competition Commission report and has confirmed it will challenge its findings.

The provisional findings conclude that the addition of the new operator, MyFerryLink, would be detrimental to competition and could lead to an increase in prices.

In a statement on its website, Eurotunnel says that it considers that the acquisition of the ex SeaFrance ships, nine months after it ceased all operations, and the creation of MyFerryLink, constitutes an increase in competition and brings additional choice

Eurotunnel intends to continue to work with the Competition Commission to allay the concerns raised by existing ferry operators and to demonstrate that the creation of MyFerryLink is a good thing for the market as it is both procustomer and pro-competition.

– Jacques Gounon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Eurotunnel

Price rise fears for Cross Channel passengers

Eurotunnel bought the SeaFrance business last year after it went into liquidation.

It has kept the ships but changed the name of the business to MyFerryLink. It is run by former SeaFrance employees. The move created 200 new jobs.

But the Competition Commission report suggests that the acquisition could mean passengers pay more.

Read the full report here.

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