Feature, Freight News, Road, Sea

P&O and DFDS combine to offer turn up and go Dover/Calais service

[ May 25, 2021   //   ]

Freight drivers arriving in Dover or Calais ports will be able to use the next available P&O Ferries or DFDS sailings under a new space charter agreement between the two short-sea operators.

They said it would help maintain customer service levels on the route and ensure its continued resilience.

It would shorten freight customers’ waiting times, reducing waiting time to 36 minutes and helping to cut overall journey time by up to 30 minutes.

Whilst at capacity is shared, all commercial activities remain entirely under the control of each operator, they stressed.

The new agreement is for freight vehicles only and does not apply to the Dover-Dunkirk route, which is solely operated by DFDS.

Vice-president and head of Channel routes for DFDS, Filip Hermann, said: “Our focus is always to improve the ferry offering to freight customers. With this new space charter agreement in Dover-Calais we offer faster crossings and flexibility to relieve congestion and keep trade flowing.”

Chief Executive of P&O Ferries, David Stretch, said: “After the pandemic, during which we did everything we could to keep essential goods moving at a time of national crisis, the best way to ensure that we can continue to run vital freight services on Dover-Calais is to build on our relationship with DFDS and enter this space charter agreement.”

The two Dover-Calais operators face increased competition in June when Irish Ferries is due to start a single-ship service, while Eurotunnel already offers frequent freight shuttle services between Folkestone and Calais.

The Port of Dover also welcomed the announcement. Chief executive Doug Bannister, said: “Developing the ferry product by maximising choice, capacity, flexibility and resilience in this way is a fantastic demonstration by the ferry operators of how the Dover route is responding to renewed market confidence. We look forward to seeing the benefits of this announcement being realised as the port and ferry operators continue to support the UK in getting back to normal and driving future economic success across the nation from Dover.”

DFDS said that the space charter agreement did not require approval from competition authorities “as we remain two separate companies”.