Ferry firm looks to axe high-speed service from Portsmouth to Le Havre

ON ROUTE LD Lines' Norman Arrow
ON ROUTE LD Lines' Norman Arrow
Breakdown workers preparing to haul out of the sea one of the cars involved in an accident on the Havant by-pass

THIS WEEK IN 1970: Havant by-pass cars plunge into the sea

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A FERRY firm is considering scrapping its summer high-speed service because of rising running costs.

LD Lines, which provides a seasonal high-speed ferry route from Portsmouth International Port, has issued the warning following the end of the summer service this week.

The high-speed route runs from May to September each year – alongside an all-year-round slower ferry service to the French coast.

The slower service runs overnight and reaches Le Havre within eight hours.

The firm’s high-speed route, which has run for the last two summers, completes the same stretch in just three and a half hours.

But rising fuel costs and a long winter lay-up period have led officials to question whether they should continue running it.

A spokesman for LD Lines said: ‘Operating as a seasonal service only and despite good commercial success of the craft during the 2011 summer period,

the business model of high speed craft is very difficult to maintain in the current economic climate.

‘This is due to a combination of very high fuel costs, a long winter layup period, no large freight being carried and low ticket prices.

‘This is because of the ongoing rates war on the channel.’

LD Lines stress they will continue running its normal ferry service and would consider it replacing the high-speed route.

But a final decision has not been made. Officials are set to meet for talks next month.