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Dover to Calais ferry operator My Ferry Link claims victory for consumers in quashing Competition Commission ruling at tribunal

04 December 2013
by Beth Robson
Cross-Channel operator My Ferry Link has claimed victory over a ruling by the Competition Commission after its "incomprehensible" decision was quashed at a tribunal this morning. 
 
A ruling in June gave the Eurotunnel-backed firm six months to stop its ferry operation from Dover to Calais - a ruling described as "seriously disproportionate" and "not based on any concrete facts".
 
The appeal report said one of Eurotunnel's grounds had been upheld against the CC's ruling that it owned too large a share of the cross-Channel market.
My ferry link

My Ferry Link runs services from Dover to Calais

It related to the purchase of three SeaFrance ferries when the firm went into administration.
 
But Eurotunnel spokesman John Keefe said "The assets were not purchased as a going concern, but they were leased to a third party." 
 
He added: "This is a victory for the consumer."
 
A My Ferry Link spokesman said: "This judgment upholds the main thrust of the application that the CC did not have jurisdiction as a matter of UK competition law to consider the acquisition by Eurotunnel of the former SeaFrance assets."
A My Ferry Link ship berthing at the Port of Dover

A My Ferry Link ship berthing at the Port of Dover

 
But the future of the workforce still hangs in the balance as the ultimate decision was referred back to the CC once more. 
 
The CC will now reconsider its earlier conclusions from June, especially whether or not it has jurisdiction to review the transaction at all.
 
Rival operators P&O Ferries and DFDS/LD Lines had urged the Office for Fair Trading and its French counterpart to probe competition issues over fears Eurotunnel would grab a share of the ferry market, even though the ships are leased to a third party.
 
Chris Laming, from P&O, said: "It will take time to analyse the technical nature of this judgement."

A Port of Dover spokesman said: "The Port of Dover will study carefully the Competition Appeal Tribunal judgment in order that it can fully assess its impact on the Port and its customers and the local community. We will seek to discuss the matter with our ferry customers." 

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