Can ferries from Oostende ever compete against the Channel tunnel?
The Ostend port authorities especially focus on extending Oostende into an energy port. There is little or no interest left in real port activities such as passenger crossings and freight. A true port policy, however, should go for diversity and also make passenger and freight traffic possible.
Ferries are the heart and soul of Oostende, a tradition of over 168 years. Remember the thousands of people who stood watching from the pier or the promenade every day, or who caught the ferry themselves.
With all sorts of excuses, the politicians try to make us believe that a ferry line from Oostende is no longer possible. Yet this is a port activity which creates jobs for the Ostenders. Think of the unemployed heavers, transport companies which leave Oostende, the hotel and catering industry which loses millions of euros in income because of lack of passengers,...
The Town Council and the port authority seem satisfied with the current situation as, because of the cessation of the ferries a numbe of transit illegals are no longer coming to Oostende. A completely sterile port is no solution and an economic and touristic disaster. Whoever cannot live with the small discomforts that come with all this would do better to go and live on an uninhabited island.
Frequently Asked Questions
Of course they can! The competition with Calais and Duinkerke is certainly not new. Even since the extension of the motorway Jabbeke-Calais the ports of Duinkerke and Calais have been major competitors. Still, in 2005, no less than 300 000 lorries were transported from Oostende.
For many truck drivers the longer crossing from Oostende is more appealing than the journey via Calais. This relates to the legal requirements concerning driving and break times.
The crossings of Trans Europa Ferries were completely full up to their last day, which proves that a ferry line from Oostende is perfectly viable.
Whoever travels from Calais spends, if he comes from the direction Brussels-Ghent-Bruges, an extra hour on the road. Which is time you can deduct when travelling from Oostende. What would you prefer : an hour on the road or enjoying an hour on board the ferry?
Certainly. The peak of 14 crossings a day and 3 million passengers a year are probably no longer possible. Yet Oostende still has a number of strengths .
It might be worth investigating if a freight line (RoRo) or a mixed freight-passenger line could be viable. Harwich too, has a train station next to the quay.
We should not keep focusing on just Dover or Ramsgate.
They certainly do.
The longer routes to Tilbury, Ipswich, Immingham or Killingholme are a winner for Oostende. Those routes were very successful in the days of Ferryways.
As a comparison : in 1987, 187 000 lorries were transported from Oostende, in 2005 there were 300 000, almost twice as many. The Channel tunnel has no negative influence whatsoever here. However, the port of Oostende stays empty.
t would seriously endanger the future of freight ferries from the Zeewezen dock.