Leading English Channel ferry operators P&O Ferries and DFDS have reached a charter agreement to make freight space on their Dover-Calais ships available to one another, hoping to maintain customer service levels on the route and ensure its resilience.
Under the 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 whether the ferry is operated by P&O or DFDS.
David Stretch, chief executive of P&O Ferries, 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.”
Beginning this summer, the agreement covers all eight ships on the Dover-Calais route, which is the single busiest route for trade between Britain and the EU.
The vessels comprise 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.