P&O Ferries has signed a €360m contract with Aker Yards to build the two largest ships ever to be constructed for the Dover-Calais cross-Channel service.
The first of these ships will enter service in December 2010 and the second in September 2011, replacing the Pride of Dover and the Pride of Calais. They will be built at the Aker shipyard in Rauma, Finland.The company has also taken options on a further two vessels of the same design.
At 49,000 gross tonnes and 210 metres in length, the two ferries will be the largest ships capable of fitting into existing facilities in the Channel ports and will also be the first Channel ferries designed to manoeuvre under their own power in 50 knot winds.
They will have space for more than 180 freight vehicles, more than doubling the freight carrying capacity of the ships they are replacing, whilst additionally providing a third vehicle deck for up to 195 tourist vehicles. They will be capable of carrying up to 2,000 passengers.
These ships will be as environmentally friendly as possible, offering significant advances in fuel efficiency through a hydro-dynamically efficient hull form that will optimise vessel performance with minimum fuel consumption.
With this investment, P&O Ferries, the largest ferry operator on the Strait of Dover, is planning to capture growth in the freight market, whilst also serving the tourist market with a superior on board offer.
Robert Woods, chairman of P&O Ferries, said: “This contract reflects our Dubai shareholder’s strong belief in P&O Ferries and its support of our determination to grow our business over the long term.”