Brittany Ferries and CMA CGM to enter commercial partnership

By: Steven Tarbox
Brittany Ferries ARMORIQUE. Image: Brittany Ferries.
Brittany Ferries ARMORIQUE. Image: Brittany Ferries.

Agreement will secure investment in ferry operator

Brittany Ferries and international shipping group CMA CGM have announced that the two companies have entered a partnership designed unlock synergies between the two companies in passenger and freight transport. As part of the agreement, CMA CGM will invest €25 million in Brittany Ferries, including €10 million in quasi-equity. A representative of the CMA CGM Group will also join Brittany Ferries’ Supervisory Board.

The partnership will allow CMA CGM to use available cargo space on board Brittany Ferries’ services to the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Iberian Peninsula. This will help expand CMA CGM’s already extensive services. The French company operates some 542 ships and carried close to 21 million TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) containers during 2020.


New Services

Brittany Ferries will benefit and learn from CMA CGM’s expertise in freight and logistics. The ferry company is seeking to adapt to post-Covid-19 trends in goods transportation, including the transport of unaccompanied trailers, and to offer new transport services so it can better meet the needs of its customers. Both companies expect to be able to offer new Ro-Ro freight services as a result of the partnership.

One initiative to diversify the company’s operations is a new unaccompanied trailer railway transport service. This is expected to be operational by the end of 2022. The service will utilise the Atlantic coast rail network between Bayonne (near the Spanish border) and Cherbourg using special railway wagons which allow trailers to be driven straight on and off the train.

Brittany Ferries was particularly badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic due to the company’s heavy reliance on tourist traffic for revenue. As a result the company has received financial assistance from banks, the French state, and regional governments in order to keep operating.

CMA CGM and Brittany Ferries have also pledged to work together on their rollouts of LNG propulsion as an alternative to diesel through sharing knowledge and resources in areas such as training for French crews and safety procedures. Brittany Ferries currently has four LNG-powered E-Flexer ferries on order from Stena RoRo, with the first expected to join the company next year.

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