Wednesday, November 16, 2011

RoRo Freight and Passenger Ferries Sail Again - But for How Long?

Sea France Awaits the Coup de grace
Shipping News Feature

FRANCE – After the stoppage of all Sea France's passenger and freight RoRo ferry services for 48 hours the Tribunal de Commerce in Paris today confirmed the French ferry firm, in receivership since last year, was bankrupt but allowed it to continue to operate services until the 28th January. At that time, if the matter is not settled the company must cease trading.

The attempt to salvage the firm, together with over 1600 jobs, by the French Government was ruled illegal by the EU and the matter left to the Court. This decision means that prospective bidders have until the 12th December to make an acceptable offer after a joint bid for around £5 million from DFDS and shipping group Louis Dreyfus Armateurs , owners of LD Lines ferries, was ruled ‘insufficient’ by the Court.

Staff at DFDS and Dreyfus were reported to be disappointed by the decision and are in talks with a view to what their course of action should be. A Sea France spokesman welcomed the decision and confirmed services were to be immediately reinstated to await developments.