Eurotunnel has announced that it will not renew its contract with the employee co-operative that crews the vessels of its ferry affiliate, MyFerryLink, when it expires in early July.
The company confirmed to IHS Maritime that it had written to the co-operative, SCOP SeaFrance, to announce its decision, indicating that it was obliged to give notice of its intention by 2 June.
A Eurotunnel representative blamed the company’s decision on the attitude of the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which he said was continuing to exert “strong pressure” on MyFerryLink and the 600 people who work for it despite having had its decision to ban the ferry company from the port of Dover overturned recently by the English appeal court.
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Last week, the appeal court refused the authority leave to challenge its judgment before the Supreme Court but a CMA official told IHS Maritime that the authority was considering exercising its right to take its case to the Supreme Court directly.
There are indications, however, that Eurotunnel’s decision not to renew its contract with SCOP SeaFrance may not mean it is cutting its ties with MyFerryLink definitively.
Its representative said it was excluding no possibilities at the moment. “We are studying all the possible scenarios,” he said, “and we will select the best possible solution for maintaining the maximum number of jobs in Calais.”
Officially, Eurotunnel is still proceeding with the sale of MyFerryLink’s three vessels, for which it says it has received several bids, but its decision to sell was taken before last month’s appeal court judgment against the CMA.
It is not clear whether or not it might be ready to reverse that decision to sell in the event that the CMA drops its opposition to Eurotunnel’s presence in the Dover Strait ferry sector.