The roll-on/roll-off ferry between Montoir in the Pays de la Loire and Vigo in Spain’s western province of Galicia has been granted “Motorway of the Sea” status. The status, and the financial support that comes with it, will enable service-level improvements, increasing its attractiveness to hauliers as an alternative to the roads.
Road freight between France and Spain amounted to 24 billion kilometer-tonnes in 2013.* The development of more environmentally-friendly transport policies between the two countries is therefore a priority. One European policy to address this includes “the improvement of shipping schedules to reduce congestion in the transport system“.
A freight service between Vigo in Spain and the Nantes Saint-Nazaire Port has operated for more than 40 years. But it will be newly energized by this official recognition of the route, which enables subsidy from the public purse. A rider in the agreement signed on the 27 November with the shipping company Suardiaz Atlantica anticipates a subsidy of €12 million from each country and €3 million from the European Union.
Since January, Suardiaz Atlantica’s vessels have plied three return voyages each week. The Suarvigo and the Bouzas are each capable of transporting about 100 unaccompanied semi-trailers. The frequency of this service could be increased to four round-trips each week, and in time, it may also be extended to the ports of Le Havre and Algeciras, in southernmost Spain.
This new Motorway of the Sea represents “a great opportunity for industry“, according to the shipping firm, “offering a reliable, high-frequency logistics service, which will consolidate and enhance business development“.
* Source: Eurostat.
Nantes – Saint Nazaire Port
“With an annual external traffic volume in the order of 27 million tonnes, Nantes – Saint Nazaire is the leading port on France’s Atlantic Seaboard and the fourth largest major seaport authority. Every year, the port facilities at Nantes – Saint Nazaire receive over 3 000 calls by merchant ships. These logistics activities generate 24 400 jobs at some 500 different establishments forming one large port and industrial complex.”