Monday, November 28, 2016

Record Truck Numbers on Undersea Freight Shuttle as Ferry Group Invests Millions

Cross Channel Routes News from Two Major Carriers
Shipping News Feature
EUROPE – Ferry news this week as Eurotunnel reports another record broken, whilst P&O Ferries upgrade its vessels on a lesser known cross Channel route. Le Shuttle Freight, the undersea truck carrying service continues to report ever bigger numbers with 1,483,741 trucks transported through ‘le Pipe’ between New Year’s Day and 25 November 2016, the same number carried during the whole of the previous calendar year, itself a record breaking number.

Eurotunnel says the increase represents more than a 12% increase in trade, something it claims outperforms competitors in the cross Channel market which it calculates grew just 5%, prompting Commercial Director Jo Willacy to comment:

"Our business creates extraordinary value for our customers who are themselves confident in their outlook for 2017. The investment programme we have pursued will ensure that we are able to continue this growth through the coming years."

Meanwhile the original method of crossing between the UK and Europe has received a boost with the news that P&O Ferries is to spend £8.5 million on upgrading the two ships on its Hull-Zeebrugge route. The Pride of York and the Pride of Bruges, two 32,000 ton sister vessels which can carry up to 880 passengers on their overnight sailings to and from the continent, will benefit from the major investment in their physical infrastructure and passenger areas. The objective is to provide first class eating, drinking and shopping areas for freight customers and tourist passengers to enjoy during the 12 hour voyage.

Although principally used during the winter months as an unaccompanied trailer service the two ships new fittings may tempt more passenger traffic at the quietest times of the year, as explained by Janette Bell, Chief Commercial Officer at P&O Ferries, who said:

"This year we have introduced weekend mini-cruises to the historic Belgian city of Bruges for customers on our Hull-Zeebrugge route. In my opinion, there is no more enjoyable or relaxing way of travelling between Britain and Europe than on our ships. This major investment will take both vessels up to the next level in terms of outstanding customer service. In the cabins, we will upgrade the lighting, bedding and en-suite bathrooms in addition to installing better temperature control and ventilation so that our passengers have the most comfortable night's sleep possible. Our premium Club class cabins will benefit from a complete refurbishment, including new carpets, curtains and furniture."

"Dining on a ship overlooking the North Sea is widely regarded as one of the highlights of the crossing and we will be adding a wide variety of international dishes to our menus. Our Kitchen dining area, which hosts an all-you-can-eat buffet, will be given an informal, family friendly feel. And our Brasserie will be refurbished to provide a premium dining experience at affordable prices."

The works, which will be carried out at the Remontowa shipyard in Poland, will also doubtless please those freight drivers who do choose to use the route as they too will benefit from the upgrade in all areas.

Photo: Pride of York