Reporting strong increases in summer passenger and freight traffic, P&O Ferries has cemented its position as market leader on Europe’s busiest ferry route between Dover and Calais, the ferry operator said.
The company also reported rises across its whole network.
From June to August, 2023, P&O Ferries saw a 71% increase in freight volumes on the Dover/Calais route, compared to the summer of 2022.
The ferry operator was able to meet the rise in freight traffic and boost its market share on the Dover/Calais ferry route to 46%, matching capacity to demand and focussing on offering customers regular sailings, a quality service and the best possible value, the company claimed.
A return to strength of UK/EU trade was seen throughout P&O Ferries’ network with an overall 35% growth in freight volumes across all routes.
As well as the increases in freight, P&O Ferries also received a major boost in passenger numbers.
Helped by the new double ended ropax ‘P&O Pioneer’, the Dover/Calais route saw a 48% increase in passengers, compared to the previous year, as 1.3 mill passengers travelled across the Channel with the operator from June to August.
Since entering service in mid-June, 265,000 passengers have travelled on the hybrid ‘P&O Pioneer’. She is the first of two new vessels to be introduced on the route.
Around the UK, P&O Ferries’ routes saw a 39% increase in total passenger volumes on the previous year.
P&O Ferries CEO, Peter Hebblethwaite, said “We are delighted by the trust that our customers have put into us to deliver a best-in-class offering on important trade and tourist routes between the UK and the EU.
“We are serving our customers better than ever and seeing P&O Ferries surging ahead again as the market leader on the Dover/Calais route.
“We are excited that more customers are choosing us on our journey to the sustainable future of travel, and we look forward to welcoming millions more for the exceptional and unique experience of sailing on our new hybrid ships in the months ahead,” he said.
‘P&O Pioneer’, the world’s largest double-ended hybrid ferry, has the capacity to carry over half a million goods units a year between the UK and the EU.
In early 2024, P&O Ferries’ second hybrid vessel, ‘P&O Liberté’, will enter service on the route.
These advanced ropaxes, specifically designed to serve the busy Dover/Calais crossing, enable more passengers to make sustainable choices and support reduced emissions in the supply chain, helping industries across the economy to meet their emissions targets, P&O Ferries’ stated.