St Malo - Jersey ferry routes. Here we go again....


Like London buses, you don't see one for months and then 2 come along at once. So it is with St Malo ferries. In the space of a couple of days last week we learnt that 2 new operators are to start services this summer.

HD ferries (what does HD stand for - anyone know?!) are a new operator using a vessel built 8 years ago. Starting mid-March with 1 departure a day in each direction and a vessel that carries 400 passengers & 100 cars - that's 180,000 passenger spaces available from mid-March to end of September.

Then we've got Corsaire, who until 2003 were owned by Emeraude. They currently pootle around The Bay of St Malo on sightseeing tours, but have now decided to enter the big boy's world of ferry operations with a new 204 passenger-only vessel, currently being built in Australia. Corsaire plan to operate 1-3 services a day from June to September, so conservatively that will add 100,000 more passenger spaces.

Existing operator Condor will continue to operate the route as well. Not sure how many departures, but at least 1 a day in each direction with say another 400 capacity on each. So let's say in total that there will be 500,000 spaces available between April & September to & from St Malo.

So what's changed since 2005, when Emeraude sank without trace? The demise of Emeraude was in no doubt due to a combination of over-capacity on the route & weaker marketing on their part. HD Ferries have already launched their booking system (interestingly another part of their parent company - The 2morrow Group is a ferry reservations distribution system called Aferry!) and their fare structure is based on the low-cost airline model. The earlier you book & the less busy the crossing, the less you pay. If fares are low enough, it should also encourage more frequent, impulsive travel, which I believe is a real trick to turn within the Jersey-based market. 'What shall we do today - paint the bedroom or lunch in St Malo?'

Very little is known about Corsaire's plans, but their big advantage is that they are a French operator, well known in the St Malo area and probably in the best position to take advantage of the day trip market.
And don't forget we've got daily services to Normandy with Manche Iles Express, who are introducing a bigger ferry in 2007. It's all shaping up to be an interesting year on this route. I cannot believe that demand is going to satisfy such a huge supply - but there is certainly going to be one winner. Joe Public. Get planning those day trips to Paris now!


Anonymous said...

amazing what you can find on the internet, just tracked down photos of the vessel in Gibraltar that is coming to the Islands for But the most amazing feature is when you scroll down the page to see the view your car will have onboard the HD1 - Oh my god!! not looking forward to getting my car back after its been in the car wash in March....

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