Sogestran say that if Condor Ferries want a ‘price war’ next year, they are prepared to fight all the way.
Whatever happens, Islanders can look forward to two carriers servicing the route for virtually the whole of 2004.Yesterday agreement was reached with the Harbours and Airport Committee for the new Emeraude owners to acquire the harbour ramp licence until the end of next year to compete head-on with Condor on the carrying of cars on the St Malo route.
It is understood that a substantial sum was involved.The agreement was warmly welcomed by Marcel Le Roux, the man in charge of the Sogestran-owned shipping company CLT that is now running Emeraude.
M Le Roux was in Jersey yesterday for discussions with a number of parties, and he told the JEP that Sogestran ‘had deep pockets’ and were ready to fight for market share.
He added that Sogestran was a private family-owned business with considerable assets.However, M Le Roux said that what the future held really depended on Condor’s attitude.
‘We would like to work alongside Condor to provide a service level that works for the public and both carriers,’ he said.
‘We would like a situation whereby if one of our boats or one of Condor’s boats had technical problems, the other operator would carry the passengers.’At present Condor are the stronger company, but if they do decide that there is no room for co-operation, we will be ready to react accordingly,’ added M Le Roux.At present Sogestran are having difficulties with the company in France that owns the Emeraude flagship Solidor V.
M Le Roux said that there were some financial arrangements which needed to be resolved but added that he was confident negotiations could be concluded amicably soon.