Thursday, April 2, 2020

Cross Channel Statistics Interesting as Virus Affects Both Freight Truck and Passenger Traffic

Undersea Route Publishes Latest Figures
Shipping News Feature

UK – FRANCE – In the face of the virus all bets are off when it comes to performance figures in every facet of commercial life. It is interesting to note therefore how the latest statistics from Getlink stack up as the company provides a unique environment for both passengers and freight vehicles passing between the two countries.

The cross Channel undersea link, formerly known as Eurotunnel, provides more than the fastest way to travel (short of flying) to cross the Dover Straits, it also means a more clinically clean transport with really no need , and in fact little chance, for travellers to leave their vehicles. This is of course unlike a traditional ferry crossing which means a considerably larger exposure risk, no matter the precautions taken.

This however does not mean that Getlink’s traffic was untouched by the hand of the virus. Le Shuttle Freight carried almost 125,000 trucks in March 2020, which the company ascribes to a negative comparison base due to the stock piling effects last year. The second half of the month saw comparatively less volume than the first with a clear impact from the Covid-19 outbreak, particularly in the industrial and automobile sectors.

Food, pharmaceuticals and e-commerce sectors remained resilient however and the route is likely to remain a crucial one for such traffic as the crisis continues. As a comparison, during the same month, Le Shuttle carried 94,713 passenger vehicles. This figure should be seen in the context of the restrictions on travel imposed by the British and French governments and Getlink estimates that 65,000 crossings have been postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. In addition, March 2020 suffered from the same unfavourable base effect compared to March 2019.

Those passenger numbers particularly will likely fall further from here on in due to the lockdown measures introduced by the two governments and Eurotunnel says it is ensuring that the vital supply chain for essential goods continues between France and the UK via both its Passenger and Truck Shuttles. It is also taking further steps to ensure safety on the route remains a top priority.

Recommended hand sanitation and social distancing measures are being applied strictly for both staff and customers and, because of these measures, it has been decided to reduce the load factors on the Truck Shuttles to limit the number of drivers on board, whilst encouraging van drivers to use the Passenger Shuttles and remain in their vehicles during the crossing.

The figures put out today by Getlink were actually due for release on April 14 but the company says it brought forward the publication of its Shuttle traffic figures ‘in order to provide transparency for markets’ and it says the group’s traffic and revenue for the first quarter will be published on 23 April, before markets open, with April’s traffic statistics following on May 7.