There is to be a new daily freight ferry service launched by P&O Ferries, running between the Port of Tilbury and Calais and designed to give road haulage companies and shippers using unaccompanied trailers a route which terminates just 25 miles from Central London.
Handyshippingguide.com quoted Janette Bell, Chief Executive of P&O Ferries, as saying: “We are delighted to be able to increase the choice we offer our customers by introducing a reliable, efficient and timely route for goods bound for markets in London and the South East. The route saves up to 75 road miles each day compared with the traditional Calais-Dover crossing, meaning that our customers save on fuel and land on the doorstep of London. By prioritising the fast discharge of the ship, the freight can be on the M25 from 5.30am, thereby enabling time-sensitive loads to continue their journey before the rush hour starts.”
P&O Ferries has chartered the Caroline Russ to service the new route, with two sailings every weekday and one each on Saturday and Sunday. The eight-hour sailing will have capacity for 100 units of freight, with a total of 50,000 expected to be carried in the first 12 months. It is expected that time-sensitive supermarket goods including fresh fruit and vegetables will be transported on the route.
The new river berth at the Port of Tilbury is scheduled to open in April next year, enabling P&O Ferries to treble volumes on its existing Zeebrugge-Tilbury services to 600,000 loads of freight a year.
An onward rail connection to Daventry is also expected to be operational in 2020, mirroring the rail connections linking the Port of Calais with Le Boulou, Turin and Orbassano on the Continent.