Saturday, 25 April 2015

Ferry Services between Madeira and Continental Portugal to return??

Following the election of the new regional government for Madeira, complete with a new First Minister, rumours are flying around the web that there is a possibility that a ferry service between Madeira and Continental Portugal may be reinstated.

One may remember that Spanish Line, Navera Armas, operated a weekly service from the Canarias via Funchal to Portimão until 2013. The line closed because the then First Minister of the Madeira Regional Government insisted that high Port handling charges remained in force, ostensibly making the route unsustainable.

However, even if the ferry link is resuscitated, I believe passenger fares will still be steep.

Remember ARMAS is a privately held Spanish Company and they are going to have to be sure of their numbers and vessel availability before committing.

The line is currently operating a weekly Huelva to the Canarias, so there will have to be some pretty persuasive commercial argument to reinstate the route from the Canarias to Madeira and then onto Portimão.

Personally, I feel that, commercially, a new ferry route from Funchal to Setubal would be much more attractive to shippers, who would be the main raison d'etre for the line, as it would reduce the amount of tolls to pay to get trucks to the ferry from Portugal's main commercial centres. Setubal, also, already has the capacity to handle "Ro-Ro's" as it is the main port for shipping vehicles from the AuroEuropa VW factory near Coina.

Some web articles on the issue here in Portuguese: