The two leading ferry operators on the English Channel – P&O Ferries and DFDS – have reached an agreement to share freight space on their Dover/Calais ships to maintain customer service levels.
Under a space charter agreement, freight drivers can arrive at either the Port of Dover or Port of Calais and board the next available sailing, irrespective of who operates the ferry.
David Stretch, P&O Ferries CEO, said: “After the pandemic, during which we did everything we could to keep essential goods moving at a time of national crisis, the best way to ensure that we can continue to run vital freight services on Dover/Calais is to build on our relationship with DFDS and enter this space charter agreement.
“It will ensure the continued resilience of the principal UK/EU trade route on which thousands of businesses and millions of consumers rely. It will also maintain service levels for our customers by reducing the time drivers spend waiting at the ports, giving them access to a departure every 36 minutes and reducing gate-to-gate journey times by an estimated 30 minutes,” he said.
The Dover Strait is the single busiest route for trade between Britain and the EU. The agreement – which is due to start this summer – covers all eight ships on the route, including the P&O-owned ’Spirit of Britain’, ’Spirit of France’, ’Pride of Canterbury’, ’Pride of Kent’ and ’Pride of Burgundy’ and the DFDS-owned ’Cote des Flandres’, ’Cote des Dunes’ and ’Calais Seaways’.