Monday, September 16, 2019

Freight Ferry Company Gears Up New Service as Brexit Approaches

Unaccompanied Trailers Shipping Closer to the Capital
Shipping News Feature

UK – FRANCE – There is to be a new daily freight ferry service launched by P&O Ferries which will run between the Port of Tilbury and Calais designed to give road haulage companies and shippers using unaccompanied trailers a route which terminates just 25 miles from Central London. Janette Bell, Chief Executive of P&O Ferries, said:

“We are delighted to be able to increase the choice we offer our customers by introducing a reliable, efficient and timely route for goods bound for markets in London and the South East. 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. By prioritising the fast discharge of the ship, the freight can be on the M25 from 5.30am, thereby enabling time-sensitive loads to continue their journey before the rush hour starts.”

P&O Ferries has chartered the Caroline Russ to service the new route, with two sailings every weekday and one each on Saturday and Sunday. The eight-hour sailing will have capacity for 100 units of freight, with a total of 50,000 expected to be carried in the first 12 months. It is expected that time-sensitive supermarket goods including fresh fruit and vegetables will be transported on the route. Xavier Bertrand, Président du Conseil Régional des Hauts-de-France, observed:

"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.

”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."

The new river berth at the Port of Tilbury is scheduled to open in April next year, enabling 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 the Forth Ports Group (owner of the Port of Tilbury), commented:

"This adds another string to Tilbury's market offering at a crucial time for the UK economy. Our £250 million 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."