Freight Ferries: 2023 Review

It is common practice for ferry operators to make changes to their offering, either by launching new ferries and new routes or retiring old ones. 2023 was no exception, reports Freightlink Solutions.
Heralded as ‘one of the most eco-friendly ferries in the world’, the P&O Pioneer was launched last June and currently sails on the channel’s busiest freight route, Dover-Calais.
The vessel also stands as the largest double ended hybrid ferry in the world. Another new P&O Ferries hybrid vessel – the P&O Liberté – will soon be joining her.
Unfortunately, after moving to a new terminal location in Dublin Port in early 2023, P&O Ferries were unable to reach an agreement with Peel Ports regarding their berth in the Port of Liverpool.
As a result, P&O Ferries made the decision to close their Liverpool-Dublin route in late 2023.
Last May, Stena Line announced they would be commissioning two new freight ferries to increase capacity on their Heysham-Belfast route.
The ‘NewMax’ vessels will provide an additional 2,800 lane metres each and will run on methanol fuel to reduce CO2 emissions. Both vessels are expected to go into service in 2025.
To further strengthen trade links between Belgium and Britain, P&O Ferries announced in February that they would be chartering the Finnlines MS Finnpulp to meet this goal. Later the operator announced that this charter would continue indefinitely.
In June of 2023, DFDS replaced their Sheerness-Calais route with a dedicated unaccompanied service between Tilbury and Calais. The Danish ferry operator offers approximately six sailings on this route per week.
Refits for DFDS, specifically the Newcastle-Ijmuiden route, are expected from January through to the end of February 2024. Meanwhile, refits for the P&O Ferries Hull-Rotterdam vessels are anticipated from 7 and 12 January 2024 for a period of four and 19 days respectively.
As with DFDS and P&O Ferries, Stena Line refits for 2024 will be officially announced soon.

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