Tuesday, February 9, 2010

LD Take On Ramsgate To Ostend Freight And Passenger Ferry Route

Association Formed with Transeuropa
Shipping News Feature

UK – BELGIUM - LD Lines, who already have TransManche Ferries under their wing, have formed a partnership with Ramsgate based Transeuropa Ferries to bolster the existing freight and passenger service to and from Ostend. The new service will commence in March with LD concentrating on passenger bookings and Transeuropa will handle freight enquiries.

Initially one vessel will operate under joint management on the route with the ‘Norman Spirit’ being renamed the ‘Ostend Sprit’ and moving from LD under a charter to Transeuropa. Crossing time being around four hours the ship will transit twice daily. Both sides of the Channel received the news with approval. The Chairman of the Port of Ostend said it signalled the end of the worst of the financial crisis and a Ramsgate Council spokesman welcomed the regenerated service saying the port was built to accommodate the larger sized ferries which can carry more of both trucks and cars.

LD Lines’ spokesman Managing Director, Christophe Santoni, said, “We are very pleased to announce this development which will combine the considerable expertise of both companies”. His counterpart at Transeuropa Ferries, General Manager Dominique Penel commented that the move made sound economic sense and the larger vessel would enable the companies to develop the route to the benefit of both freight customers and passengers.

The newly named 30,000 tonne ‘Ostend Spirit’ will actually be returning to where she began life having been built by Belgian ferry company Regie voor Maritiem Transport (RMT) in 1991 for the Ostend to Dover run and now she will continue to operate under the British flag and be branded in LD Lines’ and Transeuropa Ferries’ colours. Services on her former route will be unaffected as the renamed ‘Brave Merchant’ will be drafted in as a replacement.

Photo:- ‘Norman Spirit’ leaves harbour. Courtesy LD Lines