Monday, August 6, 2018

Heat Wave Not a Problem for Freight and Passenger Ferry Group

Best July Figures for Three Years as Temperature Causes Cross Channel Problems
Shipping News Feature
UK – EUROPE – Whilst newscasts may have shown scenes of misery over the past few days as a heat wave swept the UK, with huge queues of traffic awaiting shipment from the Channel ports and the horrors descending when Eurotunnel services were suspended for long periods due to air conditioning failures, not everyone found the situation quite so bad. Whilst thousands queued back as far as the M20 from the tunnel approaches in the last days of July, the rush meant record figures for P&O Ferries, which reported its best ever tourist carryings for a July on the English Channel in three years.

The tourist figures often raise the hackles of the freight drivers who ply the Channel routes all year as they often feel like second class citizens during the high Summer season, complaining that it is the trailer trade which keeps the routes open in the quieter months. This is always hotly denied by the ferry companies which point out the lengths they now go to ensuring commercial drivers are well treated all year round.

Last month P&O Ferries launched a new 'grab and go' menu on its English Channel ships which is designed to put fresh, high quality, seasonal food at the heart of the customer experience. It also launched a mobile app which means that customers no longer have to use any paper for their tickets. Speaking of the services offered Janette Bell, Chief Executive of P&O Ferries, said:

"More people started their summer holiday by taking a P&O ferry across the English Channel in July, with our outstanding on-board offer and the glorious summer weather proving an irresistible combination. We have been able to handle these high volumes because of our continuing investment in the Spirit-class of ships which have helped to transform our customers' experience of cross-Channel travel. The Spirit of Britain and Spirit of France are both capable of carrying 2,000 passengers, twice the capacity of a standard ferry, whilst offering first class food, shops and entertainment."

P&O Ferries now sails 27,000 times a year on eight major routes between Britain, France, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Holland and Belgium. It operates more than 20 vessels which carry 8.4 million passengers and 2.3 million freight units annually.

Photo: Spirit of France under way.