Page last updated at 09:07 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

SeaFrance rescue plan is rejected

LD Lines currently operates from Newhaven and Portsmouth

A cross-Channel ferry operator has been given four weeks to turn its fortunes around after its parent company rejected a rescue plan.

SeaFrance, which is owned by the French national rail operator SNCF, sails between Calais and Dover.

At a meeting between managers from both companies on Monday SeaFrance was told to create a new plan by 16 February.

It is facing a drop in freight volume because of the economic downturn and has been making significant losses.

Another ferry operator, SpeedFerries, stopped operating between Dover and Boulogne in November.

French company LD Lines plans to launch a replacement service serving both Boulogne and Dieppe from 12 February.

Earlier this month, South Thanet MP Stephen Ladyman revealed that another company was planning to start a fast ferry service between Ramsgate and Boulogne in March.

Euroferries hopes to offer a 75-minutes cross-Channel journey and express coach services linking the ferry to London via Ramsgate, Canterbury and the Medway towns.

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