Eurotunnel cannot yet guarantee that its ferry affiliate, MyFerryLink, will continue operating in the Dover Strait beyond early July, it said today.
This comes despite last week’s appeal court ruling overturning a UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ban on the ferry company using the port of Dover.
The ban had been due to come into effect on 9 July and Eurotunnel told IHS Maritime that the appeal court would need to specify the implications of its ruling last week at a hearing still to be fixed before it could be known for certain that the ban would not be applied.
Eurotunnel representative John Keefe said he expected a date for the hearing to be set shortly but that, in the meantime, Eurotunnel was proceeding with its examination of the offers it had received for the three MyFerryLink ships it owns.
Related news:Appeal court overturns MyFerryLink Dover ban
Eurotunnel also has to decide whether or not to extend its contract with employee co-operative SCOP SeaFrance, which mans the MyFerryLink ships. That contract is due to expire on 2 July and that date would normally mark the end of the ferry company’s activities if the CMA ban on the company using the port of Dover is not formally lifted.
“Unless something is sorted out, that is the day when, unfortunately, the ships will be pulled off the market,” Keefe said. “The employees of the SCOP will have nothing to do because they will have no contract to operate the ships.”
Eurotunnel needed clarity regarding MyFerryLink’s long-term prospects before it could take decisions on its own account on how to proceed following last week’s appeal court ruling, he said.
Last week’s appeal court ruling was won by SCOP SeaFrance. Eurotunnel had already announced that it would not contest the CMA’s MyFerryLink ban further and would instead sell the three ships used by the company.
Yesterday, the CMA said it would seek leave from the appeal court to challenge last week’s ruling against it before the UK Supreme Court but added that, nevertheless, it would ask the court to lift the ban on MyFerryLink using the port of Dover in the meantime.