Tuesday, January 28, 2020

New RoRo Ferries Revealed for Freight and Passenger Crossings Between UK and France

First Ship Due in Service from 2023
Shipping News Feature

UK – Our picture gives an artist's impression of the new generation of 'super-ferry' which P&O Ferries is to start operating on its Dover to Calais route, the first of which is due to launch in 2023. The RoRo vessels will have 2,263 lane metres for freight as well as 1,078 for cars and vans.

P&O has ordered two of the Danish OSK-ShipTech A/s designed vessels from the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) subsidiary COMEC (formerly Guangzhou Shipyard International) at a reported cost of €260 million. At 230 metres overall they will be the largest ships ever to ply the route.

Improved manoeuvrability with four azimuth thrusters, two each at bow and stern, and the double bridge design, one facing each end of the vessel, mean better fuel consumption. The officers simply walk to the opposite bridge to take the ship in without turning her round meaning an estimated seven minute time saving and a 12% cut in fuel for each crossing.

The fuel savings overall are estimated to be around 40% over their predecessors when including the battery propulsion factor; when excess energy is produced by the engines it transfers to charge the batteries. Crew can also shut down up to two thirds of a vessels systems in off peak periods and intelligent lighting and ventilation will bring further powers savings. David Stretch, Managing Director - Short Routes at P&O Ferries, said:

“[This provides] a glimpse of the transformation which our customers will experience when they travel between Britain and Europe on the most sustainable, most reliable and most customer friendly ships ever to sail on the route. This major investment will be a vital part of Europe’s transport infrastructure into the 2040s and symbolises our commitment to making trade flow for our customers.”

The actual introduction of these sparkling new vessels however is likely to be contentious. P&O Ferries, these days under the DP World umbrella, has been heavily criticised by maritime unions for taking existing ships off the UK Register and reflagging them to the Cypriot equivalent leading to accusations the flag of convenience means easier access to cheaper foreign labour.