Are ferry passengers concerned about brand image?
From Off Radar News
Last week I was in France sampling the services of relatively new French operator LD Lines on its Portsmouth-Le Havre route and its brand new Dover-Boulogne run. LD Lines is owned by well known French shipowner Louis Dreyfus Armateurs and also operates Transmanche Ferries, the latter running between Newhaven and Dieppe. The re-opening of the Dover-Boulogne service was big news for the French port which had thought that it would loose its lucrative UK tourists following the demise of budget fast ferry operator SpeedFerries last year. The new conventional service is branded very much LD Lines, so it is something of a surprise to see the service operated by one of the two Transmanche Ferries sisterships. For the maiden arrival of the ship in Boulogne, the great and the good were assembled on the quayside to welcome the first LD Lines sailing – instead of a red, white and blue ferry with LD Lines on the side, passing through the harbour entrance was a yellow and white ferry with Transmanche Ferries painted in large green letters down the side! The only sign of anything to do with LD Lines was a small house flag flying from the jack staff! LD Lines boss Christophe Santoni told ‘Off Radar’ that the ship wouldn’t be repainted in LD Lines colours, because she would still run between Newhaven and Dieppe. So it’s somewhat confusing for passengers trying out the new route – or is it? On the maiden passenger carrying service from Boulogne to Dover, I asked a British couple why they had selected LD Lines. They told me that they had no idea that this was a new operator, a maiden voyage; they had just booked online for the cheapest crossing! To them, the ferry company, brand etc, didn’t come into the equation, just the price!
By Off Radar News - Publisher Grant Holmes