April 8, 2021
DFDS is opening a new route between Calais and Sheerness in response to increasing demand for additional ferry capacity for unaccompanied freight between France and the UK.
- 1st departure is planned for 1 June 2021
- 1 daily round trip operating 7/7
- 1 roro ship: GOTHIA SEAWAYS (160 trailers)
- Sheerness is located around 70km north of Dover and thus closer to the London area
- Most of the unaccompanied freight carried today by DFDS ropaxes on Dover-Calais and Dover-Dunkirk, is expected to be transferred to the new route
- In combination with the rail infrastructure in Calais, the market for rail solutions for freight from Italy, Spain and southern France to the UK is it expected to grow
- Also: intermodal transport solution between Turkey and the UK by combining the freight ferry route to Sète with rail transport to Calais
During Q4, 2019, P&O Ferries tried a roro service between Calais and Tilbury, with CAROLINE RUSS. The route was discontinued because of low customer demand and the impact of a French strike action.
In December 2020, P&O Ferries stopped carrying no-accompanied trucks on Calais-Dover.
Jean-Claude Charlo (MD, DFDS France) says in an interview to the newspaper Nord Littoral, the following:
- DFDS took over a part of the unaccompanied traffic from P&O, after the latter announced to do accompanied only. End of February the DFDS Calais-Dover route carried 5,000 non-accompanied trailers (against 1200 same period last year).
- Biggest issue was that time in port could not be increased, hence the decision to open a new roro service to Sheerness.
- Theoretically non-accompanied could increase because of lack of drivers.
- DFDS new E-Flexer COTE D’OPALE will have sea-trials on April 12. The interior finishing of the ship will be done in Europe.