Ferry group raising cash for Norway-England line

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Photo: Gorm Kallestad/Scanpix
17:22 CEST+02:00
A secret consortium is continuing to work behind the scenes to raise capital for a planned resumption of ferry services between western Norway and Newcastle, a spokesman said.

Backers have already pumped in capital and a firm has been set up with the aim of either buying or renting a ferry to ply a route between the Vestlandet region and northern England, according to Ole Warberg, Managing Director of Visit Bergen and chairman of the board of the new company.

The firm’s primary challenge involves raising enough cash to allow it to develop into a fully operational ferry company, he told newspaper Bergens Tidende.

“There are plenty of ships on the market. For a new England ferry to be profitable, it will have to be of an appropriate size and standard. For this reason, the new company is concentrating on ships that can hold 600 to 800 passengers, 200 to 300 cars, and 50 to 100 containers,” said Warberg.

A number of major investors in Norway and the UK have already put money into the project, Warberg said, without naming them.

“Our hope was to make a final decision by July 1st this year but I don’t think that timeframe is feasible. We’re now working first and foremost on getting in enough capital to operate a new ferry route to England,” he told Bergens Tidende.

Tourism officials on both sides of the North Sea say a new ferry line would provide an economic boost:

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"From our perspective it would be great. It's important not only for tourism, but also for business and freight," Kim Lovlie, at the Oslo office of official British tourism promoter Visit Britain, told The Local in October last year.

DFDS Seaways scrapped its Bergen-Newcastle service in 2008, blaming higher oil prices and the economic downturn.

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