LD Lines and Transeuropa Ferries join forces
12 February 2010
LD Lines and Transeuropa Ferries have announced a commercial agreement to commence a collaboration on the Ramsgate - Ostend freight and passenger ferry service, initially operating one vessel together.
Starting between 15th and 30th March 2010, the two companies will co-operate on commercial aspects of the route with LD Lines taking a lead in the development of the tourist passenger business whilst Transeuropa Ferries will continue to build its focus on freight traffic and ship operations.
The agreement also includes fleet changes with LD Lines' Norman Spirit transferring to the route, which Transeuropa Ferries will operate on a long term charter basis.Norman Spirit will be re-named Ostend Spirit, operating two return sailings daily, with a crossing time of four hours. The ship is expected to replace one of the current Transeuropa Ferries' fleet later in 2010.
LD Lines' Managing Director, Christophe Santoni said, "We are very pleased to announce this development which will combine the considerable expertise of both companies.
For LD Lines it will further expand our ferry service network and we can now offer the market an extensive choice of routes from the west to east across the English Channel to France, and now to a northern located port in Belgium. The port of Ostend geographically is very well placed to attract new business from the Benelux, Germany and Easter European countries."
Dominique Penel, General Manager of Transeuropa Ferries added : "This makes good economic sense for both companies in relation to moving the service forward. Transeuropa have established an excellent, solid freight business via the Ramsgate - Ostend route since we began in 1998 and now with a larger ship, we have the potential to improve the level of service to our freight customers, whilst also developing the tourist traffic through LD Lines' passenger marketing resources."
The newly named Ostend Spirit will continue to operate under the British flag and be branded in LD Lines' and Transeuropa Ferries' colours.
Mr Johan Vande Lanotte, Chairman of the port of Ostend and former Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium said, "This is excellent news for the port of Ostend and for the region. This is a clear signal we have survived the worst of the crisis and we are now building for the future. This co-operation is an important step in our plan for growth."
In Ramsgate, Councillor Roger Latchford, Thanet District Council's Portfolio Holder for Regeneration said, "This is marvellous news for both Ramsgate and Thanet. The port was built to receive vessels of this size and it's good to welcome them back, especially because of the increased freight and passenger they represent."
Ostend Spirit will be returning to her original home port of Ostend, having previously been named Prins Filip. Built in 1991 by the then Belgian ferry operator Regie voor Maritiem Transport (RMT), the ship entered service in 1992 on the Dover - Ostend route, switching to Ramsgate - Ostend, where she remained until 1997.
The ship will be transferring from LD Lines' Dover - Boulogne service in March, to be replaced by the ex Brave Merchant, which will be re-named, to further develop the route's freight and tourist traffic and continue to provide a service frequency of four return sailings daily.
Built in 1999, the UK flag, 22,152 gross tonnes ex Brave Merchant has capacity for 2000 lane metres for freight and tourist vehicles and up to 400 passengers.
LD Lines' tourist fares on the Ramsgate - Ostend service will be available for cars and passengers, cars and caravans, motorhomes, motorcycles and for added on board passenger comfort, facilities include cabins and sleeper seats. LD Lines' new launch offer starts from £24 single for a car and five passengers, subject to availability.
LD Lines' cross channel ferry service network also includes the Dover - Boulogne, Newhaven - Dieppe and Portsmouth - Le Havre routes. For more information and to book : www.ldlines.com or call : 0844 576 8836.