Draconian rules from Brussels aimed at meeting emissions targets will push up the cost of ferry tickets by forcing shipping firms to buy expensive low-emission fuel in a move which the industry says could cost 2,000 jobs.
The Daily Mail reports that one ferry company has admitted that ticket prices could rise by as much as 30 per cent, making a family ferry ticket from England to France £50 more expensive.
And despite the changes being due to “green” regulations, analysts have said they will increase traffic on the roads and push up the prices at forecourts.
A European Committee said the fuel switch could lead to engine breakdowns and fires, meaning boats could be left stranded at sea, at risk of causing accidents and loss of life – as well as an increased risk of real environmental disasters if fuel leaks into the water.
The rules affect ships in the English Channel – the world’s busiest shipping lane – as well as the North Sea and Baltic sea. They will all be forced to use low sulphur fuel from January 1st or install filtering equipment which will costs the companies an estimated £300million.
Most operators are expected to switch from heavy fuel to lighter marine gas-oil – which is 60 per cent more expensive. And of course the costs to the industry will be passed onto the consumers through higher ticket prices.
Industry consultants Amec say there is a risk to certain routes because of the increase in costs and if demand falls following ticket price rises they would be slashed, resulting in the loss of jobs for the employees of those companies and businesses which rely on the through-trade, especially in the port towns.
And motorists will once again be hit as demand for the fuel outstrips supply and pushes up the price with an estimated 3p per litre being added to the price of diesel.
The extra costs for fuel will also hit haulage companies who will then need to raise their prices for their clients, including supermarkets and high street stores, meaning higher prices for their customers.
Most ridiculously, the increase in the cost of a ferry ticket could force hauliers onto the roads and the channel tunnel, which won’t be hit with these new regulations. The consequence of this is more, not less, traffic on the roads and more, not less, fuel being consumed.
One of the best known ferry companies, P&O, confirmed the new rules would hit consumers rather than companies, saying:
“Consumers will be picking up the bill for this because shipping companies cannot bear this cost alone.
“Marine gas-oil is considerably more expensive than the fuel we use today, so we can predict price increases for both freight and tourist customers.
“All shipping companies will be affected – but our biggest rival, the Channel Tunnel, will not.”
UKIP Transport spokesman Jill Seymour condemned the new rules and said it would “make life harder for poor families who want to go abroad on holiday whilst also having a negative effect on emissions.”