The forced change over of ferry companies operating from Motril has already had, what many consider, foreseeable negative effects.
Naviera Armas went a long way together to make the Motril/Melilla route both efficient and affordable for its users.
The port, for instance, spent a lot of money setting up an electricity supply for docked ferries so that they didn’t have to run their on-board generators whilst docked during the night, causing a noise problem. The Ferry company spent money, as well, adapting their ships to this arrangement.
Then the Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) stepped in and forced Armas to relinquish the route in favour of the German shipping company, FRS.
The first problem is that these ships might not be compatible with the dock electrical-supply installation. The second problem, is that the ships are smaller and slower.
The Armas ferry could carry 1,700 passengers whilst the FRS one can only carry 350 passengers, 320 vehicles or 62 lorries.
The end result is that the summer migration of North African workers from all over Europe back to their homelands has already dropped by nearly 41%; i.e., that’s a drop from 8,089 passengers to 4,784.
As for crossing times, the FRS ferry takes two hours more than the Armas one did.
This doesn’t mean that FRS is an inefficient company; on the contrary, they have 18 years experience operating across the Gibraltar Straits and have more than 800 employees and eight ships. It’s just that Armas was better fitted for the Motril/Melilla route.
(News: Motril, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)