Norman Spirit © Ray GoodfellowLD Lines

LD Lines was a French company owned by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs operating ferry routes in the English Channel, the Bay of Biscay and the Mediterranean.  The company operated both RoRo freight and passenger ferry services. LD Lines commenced operations in October 2005, operating between Portsmouth and Le Havre. In 2013, the English Channel routes of LD Lines were merged with the English Channel operations of DFDS. The remaining LD Lines routes ceased operations by September 2014.

LD Lines commenced operations between Portsmouth and Le Havre in October 2005 following the withdrawal of the long-standing operations of P&O Ferries on this route.

On the 21st December 2006, following a tendering process, LD Lines were awarded the contract to run the Transmanche Ferries Dieppe-Newhaven service on behalf of the Council of the Seine Maritime. LD Lines commenced sailings on this route on 1st May 2007. In addition to three daily round trips between Dieppe and Newhaven, LD Lines started a single round trip per day between Le Havre and Newhaven during the peak summer season. However, in August 2008 they announced that this service would not be continued.

In November 2008, LD Lines opened a weekend passenger and freight service between Le Havre, France and Rosslare, Republic of Ireland. This route closed in September 2009 when the vessel was chartered to Celtic Link Ferries.

In February 2009 LD Lines launched a new conventional ferry service between Dover and Boulogne and between Dover and Dieppe. The Dover–Dieppe service ceased on 29th June 2009, due to insufficient traffic. In June 2009 a high speed catamaran was introduced on the Dover-Boulogne route. After a very short season she was deemed to be unsuccessful and was withdrawn in November 2009 before being transferred to the Portsmouth-Le Havre route the following year.  The Dover-Boulogne route reverted back to a conventional ferry service but ceased operations in September 2010 following a sharp downturn in traffic. LD Lines launched a Saint-Nazaire–Gijón service on 2nd September 2010 using one of the vessels displaced from the Dover-Boulogne service.

On the 18th March 2010 LD Lines commenced sailings on the Ramsgate to Ostend route in partnership with TransEuropa Ferries (TEF). As well as chartering a vessel to TransEuropa Ferries for the service LD Lines also acted as agents selling space on TransEuropa Ferries other vessels. In March 2011, TransEuropa Ferries terminated their agreement with LD Lines and the chartered vessel was returned to LD Lines.

LD Lines and DFDS announced on the 7th February 2012 that they would be launching a joint venture service between Dover and Calais, commencing on the 17th February 2012. The two companies had previously submitted a joint bid for the assets of Seafrance which had been turned down by the French commercial courts. In March 2012, DFDS and Louis Dreyfus Armateurs entered into an agreement to form a new company that combined DFDS’ and LD Lines ferry routes in the English Channel. During 2013 LD Lines Portsmouth-Le Havre, Newhaven-Dieppe and share of Dover-Calais operation were transferred to the new company known as DFDS Seaways France along with DFDS Seaways Dover-Dunkirk service. DFDS Seaways France was 82% owned by DFDS with the remaining 18% owned by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs. The routes of DFDS Seaways France were marketed as DFDS SeawaysLD Lines other routes across the Bay of Biscay from Rosslare, Ireland and Poole, United Kingdom were not included in the deal.

On the 3rd November 2013, LD Lines launched a service between Poole, United Kingdom and Santander, Spain. This route had previously been operated by Brittany Ferries, however, this route closed on 7 September 2014. Routes between Rosslare, Ireland and Saint-Nazaire, France and between Poole, United Kingdom and Gijon, Spain commenced in January 2014. The Saint-Nazaire route closed in August 2014 followed by the Gijón route in September 2014.

In late 2014 Louis Dreyfus Armateurs sold their remaining share in the DFDS Seaways France joint venture to DFDS. The Portsmouth-Le Havre route closed at the end of 2014 due to it being economically unsustainable.

  • Le Havre-Portsmouth (2005-2014)
  • Dieppe-Newhaven (2007-2013) – Now operated by DFDS on behalf of the Council of Seine Maritime
  • Le Havre-Newhaven (2007)
  • Le Havre-Rosslare (2008-2009)
  • Boulogne-Dover (2009-2010)
  • Ramsgate-Ostend (2010-2011)

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