Business, Feature, Freight News, Logistics, Sea

P&O Ferries goes back to Spain

[ January 8, 2013   //   ]


P&O ferries in Zeebrugge

P&O Ferries is to return to the UK/Spain freight market with a new cooperation deal with Transfennica, based on a new hub operation in Zeebrugge. Under the deal, Transfennica will move its existing Zeebrugge-Bilbao con ro service in the Belgian port to the P&O Ferries berth (113) and P&O will handle the stevedoring operation.

Routes available from the UK to Bilbao are Tilbury, Hull and Teesport connecting with Transfennica Iberia’s two departures a week in each direction between Zeebrugge and Bilbao, on Tuesdays and Fridays, with a crossing time of 38 hours. Typical journey times from the UK to Bilbao would be about 60 hours, said a P&O Ferries spokesman.
P&O Ferries used to operate passenger and freight services from Portsmouth to Bilbao, but freight capacity was limited and the service was withdrawn after passenger bookings were hit by the recession.

Transfennica, owned by the Dutch Spliethoff shipping group, will handle the bookings for a through service and an EDI link will be set up between the two operators’ systems. Customers will be able to make a single booking and will receive a single invoice for the entire journey.

The service will be available for unaccompanied trailers, containers and driver accompanied trucks. The service would also be able to cater for unaccompanied reefer units, which could be plugged into the vessel power supply while at sea but would have to rely on their onboard power while on the dockside awaiting transshipment, said the P&O spokesman.

Ronny Daelman, sales director, P&O Ferries, said he had been closely watching the development of Transfennica’s service to and from Spain, adding: “With pressure on road hauliers with the economic situation, fuel prices, the working time directive and congestion on expensive French motorways, this service is a perfect alternative to the road.”

Transfennica director Michael van den Heuvel, added: “Large numbers of trucks drive between the UK to Spain and Portugal. Today the vast majority is going driver accompanied. In future we hope that more and more companies will use our joint concept. UK and Continental trailer operators are also used to unaccompanied solutions so they can really start making savings.”

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