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22 - Jan - 2014

Competition Commission to rethink; and the Concordia wreck to move



Last year, the Competition Commission ruled that Eurotunnel, who set up MyFerryLink that is run my staff who were formely working for SeaFrance, were no longer allowed to run ferries from Dover due to a rise in its overall market share, which they believed would lead to a rise in prices.  As you would expect, Eurotunnel challenged this ruling and in December 2013, CAT (the Competition Appeal Tribunal) stated that the Commission needed to reconsider their decision.

Last week, the Commission said that they are reconsidering their decision and are likely to announce their decision by the end of April 2014.  In their statement, they confirmed that they would be considering whether a workers’ co-operative made up of former SeaFrance employees and Eurotunnel acquired an ‘enterprise’ that fell within UK merger control.  And it is this point that has been at the centre of the process; does the Competition Commission have jurisdiction?  Another area of concern raised by P&O Ferries and DFDS/LD Lines, originally to the Office of Fair Trading and its equivalent in France, was that Eurotunnel already have a monopoly on the short-sea route and, therefore, shouldn’t be allowed to have a significant share of the ferry market.  The Competition Commission are inviting responses by 22nd January.

It seems such a long time ago that we all heard the terrible news of the Cost Concordia accident off the coast of the Italian island of Giglio; and it was, yet we all distinctly remember it!  It is only now that we hear the ship is to be demolished, overseen by London Offshore Consultant.  Following the righting of the ship from its partially submerged position in September, Sky News has reported that there are reportedly 12 ports that are in contention to handle the ship’s break up, including ports in Turkey, Norway, France, Holland and Middlesbrough in the UK.  Good news for Giglio is that the ship should be towed away by summer, yet still under the ship’s company ownership until it has been broken up, a salvage operation that is expected to cost approximately €600 million.  An expensive mistake by Francesco Schettino, the Concordia’s captain that is on trial for alleged manslaughter, for causing the shipwreck, and for abandoning ship, and a tab that others are going to have to pick up!

By Oliver Derek