Eurotunnel victory over Dover ferry service

MyFerryLink ship
Image caption Ferry services under the MyFerryLink name began between Dover and Calais in August last year

Eurotunnel is to be allowed to continue to offer ferry services from Dover after a ban by the UK Competition Commission was overturned on appeal.

The channel tunnel operator began operating a ferry route between Dover and Calais in August last year.

It was banned in June from operating the service for at least two years amid concern it could dominate the crossing.

The Commission will now reconsider the case and assess whether it has the jurisdiction to review the matter.

Eurotunnel, which runs the channel rail tunnel, including the Le Shuttle Dover to Calais car rail service, bought three ships from Sea France after it went into liquidation in November 2011.

'Early Christmas present'

It began leasing them out last summer to the new MyFerryLink service, which is run primarily by former Sea France employees.

The Commission said Eurotunnel bought the ferries in order to make sure that a rival, DFDS/LD, could not buy them cheaply and then drive down the price of cross-channel travel.

The watchdog was also concerned that DFDS was likely to be driven off the Dover to Calais route, strengthening Eurotunnel's hand further.

P&O Ferries also operates on the route.

Jacques Gounon, chairman and chief executive of Eurotunnel, said Wednesday's ruling by the Competition Appeals Tribunal had recognised "the benefits and practicalities of our presence in the maritime cross-Channel market".

Robin Wilkins, managing director of MyFerryLink, added that it was "a victory for common sense and logic", and an "early Christmas present" for the company's 600 staff.

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