Revenues jump at Eurotunnel

Marion Dakers
CHANNEL TUNNEL operator Eurotunnel posted a 26 per cent rise in revenue for 2010 yesterday after the number of trucks carried on its shuttles through the tunnel rose 35 per cent.

Eurotunnel said the volcanic ash disruption in April helped the firm return to its historic market share in cross-Channel transport, following the impact of a fire in the tunnel in September 2008.

Eurotunnel is close to completing the first of four “safety stations” in the channel tunnel, to ensure passengers can escape trains that get stranded mid-journey.

Bad weather during the fourth quarter, however, led to a five per cent drop in the number of cars on its passenger shuttles and a slight dip in traffic on Eurostar trains.

Revenue rose to €187m (£156.6m) in the fourth quarter from €144.6m a year earlier, excluding insurance indemnities. Eurotunnel’s shuttles carried 305,100 trucks and 455,121 vehicles in the quarter.

Eurotunnel chief executive Jacques Gounon said the tunnel’s planned high speed service, to be provided by Deutsche Bahn, was ready to start in 2013 providing the French and UK governments resolve an argument over safety and the bidding process for the route.

“The tests in October made it clear that there is no issue regarding the length of the trains. It’s a political dispute which doesn’t involve the company,” Gounon said.

“I am in a position to sue the governments, as it’s unfair for our company and passengers to block Deutsche Bahn trains for unfair reasons.”

He added that Eurotunnel hopes to win several large freight customers in the coming months.