Ferry News

French ambassador joins double celebration for Portsmouth International Port and Brittany Ferries

The French Ambassador, Sylvie Bermann, was among a host of special guests at Portsmouth International Port on Wednesday (8 June), to celebrate 40 years of cross channel ferries from Portsmouth, and 30 years of Brittany Ferries' popular route to the French port, and Portsmouth’s twin city, of Caen.

The ambassador joined other French dignitaries for a celebratory lunch on board the Brittany Ferries superferry Bretagne. They had arrived on two overnight Brittany Ferries crossings from Caen and St Malo, and spent the morning taking a tour of the Spinnaker Tower and HMS Victory.

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Celebrating the occasion in the Portsmouth terminal are (left to right): Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson; Romain Bail, Mayor of Ouistreham; Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr David Fuller; the French Ambassador, Sylvie Bermann; Port Manager Martin Putman; the Lady Mayoress of Portsmouth;  Christophe Matheiu, President of Brittany Ferries; Jean-Marc Roue, President of Conseil de Serveillance BF; Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council

In total 125 guests, including local councillors from Portsmouth and port staff, sat down to a special menu prepared by Brittany Ferries’ French chefs which followed a reception in the passenger terminal building at Portsmouth International Port.

The stunning glass and steel terminal demonstrates just how far ferry travel has come in the last 40 years. Inside the light and spacious building was a special exhibition charting the last 40 years of ferry travel from Portsmouth International Port, with an early 1970s Mini parked in the middle of the exhibition to show just how much family life and holidays have changed since 1976.

Brittany Ferries was among the first operators to sail from Portsmouth back in 1976, starting with crossings to St Malo on Armorique. It is the only ferry company to have offered a continuous service from the port since it first opened for business. 6 June, 1986,
with its service to Caen, a route that now accounts for 38 per cent of the 2.6 million passengers the company carries each year on all of its services to France, Spain and Ireland.

Mike Bevens, Group Commercial Director for Brittany Ferries, said: “In the last 40 years Portsmouth International Port has become our hub, serving four destinations in Normandy and Brittany, but our Caen route holds a special place for Brittany Ferries staff and our passengers. It’s our most popular service, carrying by far the most traffic and is gateway to some of France’s most beautiful holiday destinations.”

The City of Portsmouth owns and operates Portsmouth International Port, with £70m of profits ploughed back into public services since it first opened. Portsmouth and Caen are now officially twinned, a sign of the strong links that have been built between the two cities since the ferry route opened thirty years ago.

Martin Putman, Port Manager at Portsmouth International Port, saii: “Brittany Ferries has been a key partner in the growth of Portsmouth International Port, having been with us every step of the way. We started from scratch with just one berth and a small terminal. Now there are five berths and the most modern port facilities in the country. The route to Caen has been incredibly important to both of us, and I’m glad so many guests could join us for our double celebration today.”

The route from Portsmouth to Caen now carries more than a million passengers every year, with the company also offering services from Portsmouth to three other French ports, Le Havre, Cherbourg and St Malo and two in Northern Spain, Bilbao and Santander.

Posted on 9th June 2016 at 12:56 pm in Ferry Operators | Brittany Ferries | Ferry News |

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