Feature, Freight News, Rail, Road, Sea

P&O confirms Calais to Tilbury service

[ September 11, 2019   //   ]

P&O Ferries has confirmed that it will launch a new freight service in September between Calais and Tilbury – the first regular route from the French port to a destination other than Dover for many years.

It has chartered the Caroline Russ which will operate two sailings every weekday and one on Saturday and Sunday. The eight-hour sailing will have capacity for 100 units of freight, and will be targeted on time-sensitive supermarket goods including fresh fruit and vegetables.

A selling-point of the service is that, by prioritising the fast discharge of the ship, the freight can be on the M25 from 5.30am, allowing journeys to start before the rush hour.

Tilbury is also within 25 miles of central London while Calais also offers links from southern France and Italy on the French Railways VIIA trailer carrying service.

Janette Bell, Chief Executive of P&O Ferries, said: “The route saves up to 75 road miles each day compared with the traditional Calais-Dover crossing, meaning that our customers save on fuel and land on the doorstep of London.”

Xavier Bertrand, Président du Conseil Régional des Hauts-de-France, added: “The opening of a regular shipping line between Tilbury and Calais is an event to celebrate for many reasons. On the one hand, it meets the expectations of the European market and will help developing trade with Greater London, the Midlands and Greater Manchester.”

He continued: “On the other hand, it will improve the fluidity on the Channel, especially in the event of a No Deal Brexit. The port of Calais and P&O Ferries show their willingness to invest in the future, to offer a wider range of services to their customers in the logistics sector and to enhance the attractiveness of the French coastline.”

Launch of the new service comes ahead of the opening of the new river berth at the Port of Tilbury scheduled in April next year, which would allow P&O Ferries to treble volumes on its existing Zeebrugge-Tilbury services to 600,000 loads of freight a year. An onward rail connection to Daventry is also expected to be operational in 2020, mirroring the rail connections linking the Port of Calais with Le Boulou, Turin and Orbassano on the Continent.

Charles Hammond,, chief Executive of  Tilbury owner, Forth Ports said: “This adds another string to Tilbury’s market offering at a crucial time for the UK economy. Our £250m investment in an expanded ferry terminal at Tilbury2 will add further scope to grow our P&O routes to-and-from northern Europe in 2020.”

Meanwhile, CargoBeamer group and Calais Promotion said they had received a €7m European Union grant to build a new terminal near the port, using the intermodal equipment maker’s patented technology. The system allows road trailers to be transferred quickly to and and from rail wagons without lifting, eliminating the need for strengthened Huckepack-type units. The new terminal is expected to be open in 2022.