P&O Ferries is to re-introduce a fifth ropax on its Dover/Calais route in June in the face of fresh competition from Irish Ferries.
The 28,000 gt ‘Pride of Burgundy’ – with capacity to carry 120 lorries – will restore the P&O Dover/Calais fleet to its pre-pandemic strength of five. She will sail in freight-only mode.
In 2019, P&O Ferries’ share of ferry freight volumes on the Dover Strait was more than 50%.
David Stretch, P&O Ferries CEO, said: “I am delighted to welcome a fifth ship back to our Dover/Calais fleet, which will increase flexibility for customers and enable us to deliver a cost effective freight service on the English Channel as the economy returns to normal.
“Dover/Calais is a vital trade route both for the UK and EU economies, as well as the thousands of businesses, which rely on our services and we aim to return our market share back to where it belongs.
“My message to our freight customers is simple: P&O will do everything it can to continue being the brand you can trust to deliver your goods from beginning to end, with the aim of solving the most complex logistical challenges using our integrated ferry and logistics assets,” he said.
Mike Bhaskaran, P&O Ferries’ owner DP World’s COO – Logistics and Technology, added: “We are the leading provider of smart logistics, enabling the flow of global trade. I would like to thank everyone at P&O Ferries who has worked hard to keep trade flowing during the last 12 months and am excited by the opportunities which the arrival of a fifth ship on Dover/Calais brings, both in terms of our offer to customers and also returning P&O to growth.”
‘Pride of Burgundy’ was laid up in Leith before moving to the River Fal. She is being drydocked at A&P Falmouth before her return to service.