DFDS & P&O agree deal to give freight customers more flexibility on Dover-Calais route
DFDS & P&O have announced a deal that will allow freight drivers to board the next available sailing when they arrive at the Port of Dover or the Port of Calais – regardless of which of the two ferry companies is operating the crossing.
In a statement, DFDS said the “mutual space charter agreement” on the Dover-Calais ferry route would shorten freight customers’ waiting times and improve the flow of freight traffic across the short straits.
As a result of the deal, customers of both ferry operators will benefit from more flexibility, with a sailing every 36 minutes. It said the new arrangement will reduce the amount of waiting time at the port, saving freight customers up to 30 minutes on their overall journey time.
Although the agreement means that capacity is shared, all commercial activities remain entirely under the control of each operator.
The new agreement is for freight vehicles only and does not apply to sailings on the Dover-Dunkirk route, which is solely operated by DFDS.
Commenting on the deal, Filip Hermann, Vice-President and Head of Channel Routes for DFDS, said:
“Our focus is always to improve the ferry offering to freight customers. With this new space charter agreement in Dover-Calais we offer faster crossings and flexibility to relieve congestion and keep trade flowing.”
The two ferry companies carry more than 2.5 million lorries across the English Channel every year, making it the busiest trade route between the UK and Europe.
Although both P&O and DFDS maintain the arrangement is about providing customers with extra flexibility, there is speculation that move is intended as a means of fending off competition from Irish Ferries, who are due to operate a Dover-Calais ferry service as of next month.