New ferry link puts Boulogne back in limelight
BOULOGNE’S new ferry link with Kent signals the town’s comeback after years in the shadow of Calais, according to the Euroferries Express company, who plan to operate between Ramsgate and the French port.
Per Staehr, Shareholder and Board Adviser said “We are pleased that we will be well placed to reactivate France/UK service utilising the recently commissioned Nova Star RoPax and further look forward to making additional announcements regarding the introduction to the Channel of our High Speed vessel plans.”
The President and CEO, Mark Amundsen of Nova Star Cruises Ltd welcomes the vessel deployment, for which there has been strong interest, and we are pleased to have reached agreement with Euroferries Express Ltd and look forward to working closely with them.
Civic chiefs in Boulogne expect an overdue renaissance of a town for centuries loved by the British but side-lined for nearly 10 years by massive investment in its northern rival.
The important day visitor as foot passenger, car user or the traditional coach visitors all now use Calais and head south to Boulogne. Coaches still make the trip but nowhere near as many as when there was a direct link and for foot passenger this destination has long gone.
The specialist shops and restaurants that are part of the charm of Boulogne and so attractive to Kentish visitors remain ready to receive this traditional visitor.
New shops will be opened in the terminal; the new 4km dual carriageway already links Gare Maritime with the national motorway to Paris and north Belgium.
The completion of the 9m Euro Port project makes the London-Dover-Boulogne-Paris journey quicker than going via Calais. In a few years’ time, the port redevelopment scheme with hotel, casino and shops is set to forge closer links between town centre and port.
The President of Boulogne Chamber expects 3.5 million passengers a year to use the new service and terminal.
“For Boulogne people, the link was psychological and economic. The announcement about the link, will have people of Boulogne smiling again.”
He accepts that some 80 per cent of passengers will be British. “Our challenge is to increase the number of French people going to Kent,” he said. He is keen to promote social and educational links between Boulogne and Kent, especially Ramsgate and Canterbury.
Boulogne has held a place in the affections of Kentish people for many years. While they may go to Calais and Cite Europe for Tesco and Auchan, the new terminal shops will be very convenient, and the Francophile with love of fine French cheeses, fine old architecture and character gravitate to Boulogne to experience the excellent selection of restaurants.
Boulogne’s new hub port
Massive re-development has taking place at the port of Boulogne, with a new ferry terminal now completed.
The ferry berth at the new terminal, named the Hub Port, is prepared for Euroferries Express NOVA STAR, due to use for the first time this autumn to Ramsgate with its commercial port adjacent to the Marina and Victorian seaside town; ready to meet demand for increased passenger and freight in the SE.
New facilities have been provided for British and French border controls, as well as all the other accommodation required in support of a modern port terminal.
We seem to have heard all this before – on several occasions, and we understand that the Port of Ramsgate authorities have yet to approve the plans. However, the willingness of Boulogne to invest in the much needed improvements to the ferry terminal infrastructure and facilities is encouraging. Let’s hope it happens this time.