Feature, Freight News, Sea

Sheerness profits from Dover delays

[ August 10, 2022   //   ]

Peel Ports Group says there has been a substantial increase in trade on its unaccompanied freight service between Calais and its port of Sheerness due to the recent disruption in Dover.

The DFDS service has seen a 34% increase in units in the last fortnight  with individual sailings carrying more than 200 vehicles.

The route also experienced a 30% increase volumes between April and June this year compared to the last six months of 2021, in the wake of the suspension of P&O Ferries services in Dover.

Port director at London Medway, Richard Goffin, said: Peel Ports has argued for many years that the solution to the South East congestion is simple. Rather than travel as accompanied freight, cargo that is non-perishable can move on unaccompanied services through more reliable routes such as London Medway. 

“Although the sea-leg is longer, routing via regional ports such as London Medway is just as efficient as the existing options through the Dover Straits, as road miles are reduced. These journeys also allow for clearance checks to be completed without the pressure of a 90-minute crossing increasing throughput and capacity. 

“We’ve become dangerously reliant on Dover and the Channel Tunnel, with 75 per cent of the trailer freight market between north-west Europe and Britain passing through this pinch point. The solution provided by DFDS and London Medway evidently works and it’s fantastic to see such a strong increase in trade, demonstrating the willingness of our supply chain to consider alternative route options that increase efficiency.”

Unaccompanied freight is also seen by some in the industry as a way of overcoming challenges with customs delays, driver shortages and storage, says Peel Ports.