P&O Ferries has announced plans to introduce two super-size ferries on its Dover-Calais route.At 49,000 gross tonnes, the new ships will be the largest ferries ever to operate in the Short Sea sector and, at 210 metres in length, will be the largest ships capable of fitting into facilities in the Channel ports.
The Finnish shipbuilder, Aker Yards, will construct the ships, with the first entering service in December 2010 and the second in September 2011, replacing the Pride of Dover and the Pride of Calais.
With space for more than 160 articulated lorries they will double the freight carrying capacity of the ships they are replacing, whilst additionally providing a third vehicle deck for up to 250 tourist vehicles. Facilities for up to 1,500 freight drivers and passengers will set a new benchmark in quality standards.
These ships will be as environmentally friendly as possible, offering significant advances in fuel efficiency. The company will also be selecting eco-friendly materials in their construction and intends obtaining for them a “Green Passport” issued by Lloyd’s Register.
The value of the order to Aker Yards is approximately 360 million euros.
With this investment, P&O Ferries, the largest ferry operator on the Strait of Dover, is planning to capture growth in the freight market, currently running in excess of five per cent per annum, whilst also serving the premium tourist market with a superior on board offer.