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Danish Giant DFDS Announce Name of New English Channel Ferry for Dover Service in 2021

31st May 2019
A new ferry for DFDS Dover-Calais service in 2021, will be named Côte D’Opale and follows a steel cutting ceremony of the ferry in China. AFLOAT adds the newbuild chartered from Stena Ro Ro which has ordered eight Stena's E-Flexer class ropax ferries to include sisters entering Irish Sea service from next year. A new ferry for DFDS Dover-Calais service in 2021, will be named Côte D’Opale and follows a steel cutting ceremony of the ferry in China. AFLOAT adds the newbuild chartered from Stena Ro Ro which has ordered eight Stena's E-Flexer class ropax ferries to include sisters entering Irish Sea service from next year. Photo: DFDS

Danish shipping giant DFDS, has announced the name of their new ferry Côte D'Opale which is due for English Channel service between Dover and Calais in 2021.

The newbuild is named after a region of France that overlooks the English Channel. The Côte d'Opale is a French coastal region bordering Belgium, situated opposite the cliffs of the south-east of England.

Côte D'Opale yesterday started its journey with the first steel plates being cut in the traditional steel cutting ceremony. The vessel is being built at the AVIC shipyard in Weihai, China and will be launched for operation in 2021 on the Dover Calais route. It will be the longest ship on the channel with capacity for 1,000 passengers and crew.

The emphasis has been to provide customers with the best possible service and experience on board each and every day. Earlier this year DFDS put extensive investment into ensuring their ships are the best in meeting customer's needs, with investing in a substantial fleet renewal programme to ensure continued growth. Improving the customer experience with passenger comfort, children's play area, familiarity and dynamic food concepts at the forefront in the design process. Also offering WiFi, children's play area and easily accessible outdoor space.

Further development of the modern sea travel experience will be replicated over time across the fleet on the English Channel, which will bear a familiar resemblance to the Côte d'Opale. Further enhancing the best possible customer experience that DFDS has to offer, regardless of which vessel customers sail on.

Kasper Moos, Head of Short Routes and Passenger in DFDS said "We have great pleasure in announcing our new ship will be named the Cote D'Opale and the steel cutting marked a very special and exciting time as the ship starts to take shape in the construction process. The Côte D'Opale will give our passengers a relaxed travel experience with modern food concepts and the largest shopping experience on the channel. We continue to have a clear focus on our customers and take great pride in continually seeking improvements to ensure those special memorable experiences of travelling with DFDS.''

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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