Is the writing on the wall for the ferry between Newhaven and Dieppe? The recent announcement about the service between Portsmouth and Le Havre might give us a clue. DFDS – the company that runs both ferries – is looking to shut down the latter route.
The company says that the crossing has been running at a loss for nine years and the time has come to cut its losses. I don’t think that’s quite how the PR team phrased it, mind.
The Danish operator has been making similar noises about the service between Newhaven and Dieppe this year too. Currently, it relies on subsidies from France’s Seine-Maritime regional government.
Perhaps anticipating DFDS’ next move, the port authority in Newhaven has announced plans to build a 300m multi-purpose quayside, with widened access to both the inner harbour and ferry terminal. This could help to offset some of the job losses from any closure of the ferry service to Dieppe.
A petition is calling on local MP Norman Baker to support the continuation of the ferry service from Newhaven to Dieppe. Sadly, however, it has attracted just 603 signatures so far. (If you haven’t signed it yet, please do now.)
“A petition is calling on local MP Norman Baker to support the continuation of the ferry service from Newhaven to Dieppe”
The service provides a vital lifeline for Sussex businesses, though local holidaymakers have found it a rather grubby start and end to their French sojourns. The 4-hour crossing is also considered overly long. It is better suited to lorry drivers needing their statutory kip than to tourists looking to relax over a glass of Chablis and a croque monsieur en route to France.
If public apathy prevails, the chances of saving the service from the same fate that befell DFDS’ service between Harwich and Esbjerg in Denmark look worryingly slim.
The last ever ferry sailed between the two ports just last month.