DFDS has chartered a Stena RoRo newbuilding, which will be able to carry 3,100 lane metres of cargo and 1,000 pax.
The ship will be built in Avic Weihai shipyard in China and will be deployed on the English Channel in 2021.
The Channel is n important market for DFDS, the company said. Each year, 5 mill pax, 1 mill cars and 1.2 mill trucks travel between Dover – Calais and Dover – Dunkerque on DFDS’ ferries.
“Since the ship has not yet been built, we have great opportunities to make sure that it is designed to give our guests the best possible experience with a completely new ship. We will charter the ship from Stena RoRo and operate it for 10 years with an option to buy it after that. And since we are considering replacing the fleet on the Channel in 2031, the timing is really good,” said Peder Gellert, DFDS executive vice president, shipping division.
Four DFDS Masters have been testing on simulators how to navigate the ship to ensure that she is best fitted out for the conditions on the Channel. “When sailing on the Channel, we need to ensure that the ship is at least as fast in arrival and departure situations as our current ships. Therefore, we have made modifications to increase manoeuvrability,” said Henrik Tidblad, Commercial Fleet Director.
The ferry will be highly efficient and environmentally friendly with an expected reduction in oil consumption of around 25%, compared to current ferries.
“I am really looking forward to getting this fantastic ship to boost the business on the Channel. This new ship gives us excellent opportunities to develop our business on the commercial side. A newbuild ship will give us the flexibility to make room for tax-free shopping, depending on the outcome of Brexit. Together with an architect, we will design the interior of the ship to make sure we maximise our opportunities,” said Kasper Moos, DFDS vice president of business unit Channel.
The initial plan is to replace the oldest ferry, ‘Calais Seaways’, which was built in 1991. Market developments will determine the final deployment plan, which will be announced in 2020, DFDS said.