From 01 June, DFDS will introduce a new unaccompanied freight route between Sheerness in the UK and Calais in France.

Gothia Seaways will operate the route with one daily round trip 7 days per week. “We expect to grow the market for freight rail solutions from Italy, Spain and southern France to the UK as well as offer an intermodal transport solution between Turkey and the UK.”

The vessel can carry up to 165 unaccompanied freight units (trailers or containers without drivers).

Wayne Bullen, Freight Sales Director, “Launching a new route at this time is a strong indication of our commitment to our customers, our confidence in the popularity of DFDS services and an investment that will help to boost both the UK and French economies. It aligns with our business strategy, helping us to expand our freight network and offer solutions that help our customers, communities and our own business to grow.”

Jean-Marc Puissesseau, Chairman, Port of Calais, said: “We are very proud that DFDS, first RoRo operator in Europe, chose the port of Calais to propose its new unaccompanied route to the UK. It is a clear sign of confidence in the ability of the port to create value for our clients. This new service will perfectly fit with the rail motorways in operation in Calais coming from Italy, Spain and southern France”.

Richard Goffin, Port Director, London Medway said: “We’re delighted to welcome a new unaccompanied freight service from DFDS. This is the first ferry service since Olau Line ceased operating in 1994. Over the past year, we have Brexit-proofed a number of our ports, including London Medway, increasing resiliency to handle additional cargo to help reduce delays and maximise efficiencies for customers to provide a more attractive proposition and UK entry point over other southern ports. Our strategic location provides proximity to market benefits, and we are continuing to drive forward with planned investment in our people, processes and technology, creating further opportunities for our customers through diversification, as well as the creation of up to 100 direct and indirect local jobs.”

The combination of challenges posed by Brexit and Covid-19, has exposed drivers and haulage companies to vulnerabilities in supply chains worldwide. This has resulted in many cargo owners and carriers re-assessing their transport plans and choosing different ports, different shipping methods, and switching transport modes in order to preserve supply chains. Given current restrictions surrounding international travel, stricter border controls and COVID-19 threats, one of the most standout benefits is that by using driverless methods, the risk of delays associated to those particular challenges is reduced.

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