There is some doubt over the future of the Dieppe-Newhaven ferry service with French regional authority Consiel Generale Seine-Maritime threatening to wash its hands of an operation that has swallowed up €231 million of public funds over the past decade. The present contract, now in the hands of DFDS Seaways, runs out at the end of 2014 and newly-elected council president Nicolas Rouly asks: ‘I wonder about the relevance of a link that cannot depend solely on public funds?’
A study commissioned by the General Council from Ernst & Young is due to be presented during June. At the same time the current service provider DFDS Seaways is expected to have clarified its own position.
A one-year contract extension is a possibility for the historic route, now offering a single daily sailing in either direction by Côte d’Albâtre (2006/18,425gt), purpose-built for the route at Spain’s Barreras yard in Vigo during 2006, along with sister vessel Seven Sisters, now running Portsmouth-Le Havre.
The route, developed by British and French railway companies from the 1860s, closed in the late 1990s but was reopened by French company Transmanche in 2001 using Corsica Ferries vessel Sardinia Vera (1975).