15 AUGUST 2016


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Article from BTNews 15 AUGUST 2016

French sea link secure

Ending annual uncertainty, the ferry between Newhaven and Dieppe is finally guaranteed until at least August 2020 – possibly because an alternative is needed to cross-Channel links that face continual disruption,  writes John Burke.

A key factor has been belated political interest in East Sussex. Maria Caulfield, the new Conservative MP for Lewes, was among 130 interested parties at Dieppe in May for the decisive meeting, during which Seine-Maritime, the local authority, agreed reluctantly to continue its yearly subsidy of €20m (£17m).

This requires a public tender, however, and an announcement this month is likely to name the present operator, DFDS, which upped its passengers last year from 285,000 to 400,000 out of 6m on its portfolio of 30 routes.  

With four daily sailings between Newhaven and Dieppe, DFDS carried 45% more cars to 145,000 and 54% more lorries, to 51,000.

The reprieve for the cross-Channel service follows 10 years of campaigning by the Transmanche Users Group, a French lobby concerned for jobs in the Dieppe area.   Caulfield knows local financial and logistical support is lacking, but Sussex and Normandy will mount a major campaign to promote the line, including for regional business travel.


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