Freight service from St Malo to increase

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MORE French food will be brought to the Island as trade flows between Jersey and St Malo are boosted in the spring with Condor Ferries announcing an extended southern freight service.

The ferry operator will increase the number of freight sailings in April from one to five times per week between St Helier and the Breton port, in a move that the Channel Islands Co-operative Society says will allow it to stock more French produce from supermarket chain Carrefour on its shelves.

Over the past year, many businesses across the Island have reported supply-chain issues and soaring costs of goods such as building materials and fertiliser, blaming Brexit and the pandemic for the disruption.

Last month, French company Nostos Marine announced it was planning to launch a new service using the 55-metre Southern Liner vessel between St Malo and St Helier that would deliver goods three times a week to the Island, with a particular focus on construction and agricultural materials.

Co-founder Pierre Vennin said that post-Brexit trade barriers between the UK and EU had created an opportunity for a shorter and more cost-efficient trade route between Jersey and France.

And Condor said that it was looking to increase its use of the route having recently received certification to carry cargo on its high-speed vessels.

The firm said that the new sailings would allow it to transport ambient and chilled products on its Voyager vessel from France.

John Napton, Condor’s chief executive, said: ‘We are delighted that approval has been received as we have been working on this initiative for quite some time, particularly since Voyager entered the fleet last summer.

‘Voyager is a larger vessel than her predecessor, with a corresponding greater deck-carrying capacity and the regular sailings will help develop the range of products and materials that can be brought into the islands.’

The Channel Islands Co-operative Society has recently started stocking products from French supermarket Carrefour.

Chief executive Mark Cox said that Condor’s new service would help develop this type of product line.

‘We are pleased that Condor is providing the opportunity for a more frequent freight supply from France. This will provide us with further opportunities to expand our popular range of French products,’ he said.

Condor’s new service is intended to operate all year with freight-forwarding operations, including post-Brexit documentation and customs formalities, to be handled in partnership with French logistics firm Morvan Fils Transit.

The ferry company has operated a weekly freight-only round trip between the islands, France and Portsmouth on the Goodwill since the early 1990s and said that the new service will increase capacity by 204 lane metres (a unit of deck area) per week.

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