P&O Ferries and DFDS have signed a mutual space charter agreement on the Dover-Calais ferry route. The new agreement means that freight customers will be able to board the next available sailing on the Dover-Calais route, regardless of which of the two companies is operating the crossing.
All commercial activities and relationships with freight customers remain entirely under the control of each operator.
The companies said that the new agreement would shorten the ferry journey time by up to 30 minutes and reduce queuing in Dover and Calais. DFDS operates three combined freight and passenger ferries between Dover and Calais while P&O Ferries operates five ferries on the same crossing.
DFDS will continue to operate three combined freight and passenger ferries between Dover and Dunkirk. The Dover-Calais space charter agreement is expected to start during the summer.
The Dover-Calais route has come under some pressure since Brexit because the delays in processing had led many Ireland-based customers to switch to a direct Ireland-to-mainland-Europe ferry, departing either Dublin or Cork. Although this was a longer ferry journey, it was felt that the delays and bureaucratic difficulties involved in taking trucks via the traditional “landbridge” route had, for many, shifted the commercial argument in favour of the Britain bypass via the Irish Sea and English Channel.