NEWS: P&O and Stena unite forces in the Channel

Chris Laming, director of communications for ferry operator Stena Line is to take the top PR job at its new joint venture with P&O.

Chris Laming, director of communications for ferry operator Stena Line

is to take the top PR job at its new joint venture with P&O.



Announced last week, the new company, P&O Stena Line, will take over

both companies’ cross-Channel business in a joint venture designed to

save the two companies more than pounds 75 million a year (from pounds

280 million combined annual running costs). The move will allow

investment in the service so it can compete with Eurotunnel.



Stena Line will contribute five ships and one fast craft currently

operating on the Dover-Calais and Newhaven-Dieppe routes, while P&O will

contribute the eight ships working the Dover-Calais and Dover-Zebrugge

routes.



Both companies will continue to operate separate ferry services in the

Irish Sea, the North Sea, the Scottish routes and the western routes in

the English Channel and will maintain their own PR departments.



Laming, is one of a P&O Stena Line team including CEO Russ Peters -

currently managing director of P&O European Ferries - drawn from both

companies who will work from P&O European Ferries headquarters in Dover.



Mats Kling, vice-president for communications and public affairs at

Stena Line in Gothenburg, said it was too early to give details of any

other PR appointments. The merger has yet to be approved by the

competition authorities in London and Brussels.



It is understood that Laming’s staff at Stena Line - PR manager Sue Kirk

and media relations manager Brian Rees - are unlikely to move over to

the new company.



Peter Smith, director of corporate affairs for P&O in London, said that

Ian Todd, director of information at P&O European Ferries would also

remain with its rump business.



It is still unclear how the merger will affect the two companies’

consultancies. Stena Line uses travel specialist Direct PR and lobbying

firm Keene Public Affairs in the UK and PR firm Agence TMC in Paris. P&O

European Ferries uses PR firms in France and the Netherlands.



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