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DFDS Introduce New Rail Freight Service from Calais to Séte on Mediterranean Sea to Link Turkey

17th May 2022
Operator DFDS announced the introduction of a new rail freight service from Calais to Séte, the French port on the Mediterranean that has ferry services connecting Yalova, Turkey.  The new service which starts today, will shorten transport time between London and Istanbul. Another DFDS freight service is the Rosslare-Dunkirk route which AFLOAT adds last week saw the return of Optima Seaways, which launched the 'Brexit' by-pass freight hauliers route in January, 2021. The 'Optima' sees  DFDS increase to 3 ships and 6 round sailings weekly between Ireland and France, boosting capacity on the direct route to mainland Europe. Operator DFDS announced the introduction of a new rail freight service from Calais to Séte, the French port on the Mediterranean that has ferry services connecting Yalova, Turkey. The new service which starts today, will shorten transport time between London and Istanbul. Another DFDS freight service is the Rosslare-Dunkirk route which AFLOAT adds last week saw the return of Optima Seaways, which launched the 'Brexit' by-pass freight hauliers route in January, 2021. The 'Optima' sees DFDS increase to 3 ships and 6 round sailings weekly between Ireland and France, boosting capacity on the direct route to mainland Europe. Credit: DFDS

DFDS the operator of the Rosslare Europort-Dunkirk freight ferry route, has announced that they are introducing a new rail freight service from Calais to Séte which starts today.

The new rail service connects London with Yalova in Turkey, will shorten transport time between London and Istanbul. 

The new line means that DFDS will be able to offer a full complement of rail and sea transport between London and Istanbul, with a transit time of just 7 days, making it the fastest route there is between the UK and Turkey.

The new route expands DFDS’s existing network of services between the UK and Europe and comes in response to growing demand.

Lars Hoffmann, Head of DFDS’s Mediterranean Business Unit said: “We’re delighted to be adding a new rail line service to improve connections and shorten transport time between the UK and Turkey.

“It aligns with our business strategy to grow and expand the extensive route network that DFDS already offers, helping our customers, communities – and our own business of course – to grow.

“By combining our ferry activities in the Mediterranean and the UK with a new rail service, we’re able to offer by far the fastest connection between London and Istanbul. It’s a sign of confidence in the popularity of our offerings and a strong indication of our commitment to our customers.”

The service will run twice a week, with two weekly departures in each direction between Calais and Séte.

This is the latest in a series of investments that DFDS is making to improve its service; as an unaccompanied freight service from Sheerness to Calais was opened last year. The route can carry over 100 trailers or containers per sailing.

Since the launch of the UK-France route, Afloat adds London Medway port reported a record month in trading unccompanied trailer-units.  

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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