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DFDS Charters New Ferry for Dover-Calais Service In 2021

26th April 2018
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Afloat adds the new ferry is of the Stena E-Flexer series a new design built in China. One of these newbuilds will be chartered from Stena RoRo to DFDS service on the premier shortsea Dover-Calais route in 2021. As previously reported on Afloat, Stena E-Flexers are to be introduced on the Irish Sea to serve Stena Line based out of Belfast. Afloat adds the new ferry is of the Stena E-Flexer series a new design built in China. One of these newbuilds will be chartered from Stena RoRo to DFDS service on the premier shortsea Dover-Calais route in 2021. As previously reported on Afloat, Stena E-Flexers are to be introduced on the Irish Sea to serve Stena Line based out of Belfast. Photo: DFDS

#FerryNews - A new ferry for DFDS's Dover-Calais route will be able to carry 3,100 lane metres of cargo and 1,000 passengers. It will be built in China and deployed on the Channel in 2021.

According to DFDS, the Channel is a big and important market. Every year, five million passengers, one million cars and 1.2 million trucks travel between Dover – Calais and Dover – Dunkerque on DFDS’ ferries.

To continuously meet the customers’ demands, DFDS has decided to deploy a new ship specially designed for the services in the Channel from 2021. The ship will be built in Avic Weihai shipyard in China.

“Since the ship has not yet been built, we have great opportunities to make sure that it is designed to give our guests the best possible experience with a completely new ship. We will charter the ship from Stena RoRo and operate it for 10 years with an op-tion to buy it after that. And since we are considering replacing the fleet on the Channel in 2031, the timing is really good,” says Peder Gellert, EVP of the Shipping Division in DFDS

Four DFDS captains have been testing in simulators how to navigate the future ship to make sure that the new ship is best fitted out for the conditions on the Channel. “When sailing on the Channel, we need to ensure that the ship is at least as fast in arrival and departure situations as our current ships. Therefore, we have made modifications to increase maneuverability,” says Henrik Tidblad, Commercial Fleet Director.

The ferry will be highly efficient and environmentally friendly with an expected reduc-tion in oil consumption of around 25% compared to current ferries. It will be able to carry 3,100 lane metres of cargo and 1,000 passengers. With this capacity, it will be the largest of the ships on the Channel.

“I am really looking forward to getting this fantastic ship to boost the business on the Channel. This new ship gives us excellent opportunities to develop our business on the commercial side. A newbuild ship will give us the flexibility to make room for tax-free shopping, depending on the outcome of Brexit. Together with an architect, we will design the interior of the ship to make sure we maximise our opportunities,” says Kasper Moos, VP of Business Unit Channel in DFDS.

The initial plan is for replacement of the oldest of the ferries, Calais Seaways, which was built in 1991. Market developments will determine the final deployment plan, which will be announced in 2020.

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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