Reporting strong increases in summer passenger and freight traffic, P&O Ferries cemented its position as market leader on Europe’s busiest ferry route between Dover and Calais and saw rises across its network.

From June to August 2023, P&O Ferries saw a 71 per cent increase in freight volumes on the Dover-Calais route compared to the summer of 2022. The ferry operator has been able to meet the rise in freight traffic and boost its market share on the Dover-Calais ferry route to 46 per cent, matching capacity to demand and focussing on offering customers regular sailings, a quality service and the best possible value.

The return to strength of UK-EU trade can also be seen throughout P&O Ferries’ network with an overall 35 per cent growth in freight volumes across all routes.

As well as the increases in freight, P&O Ferries also received a major boost in passenger numbers, as the public looks to make more sustainable travel choices. Summer holiday passengers flocked to the new P&O Pioneer as the Dover-Calais route saw a 48 per cent increase in passengers compared to the previous year, with 1.3 million passengers travelling across the Channel with P&O Ferries from June to August.

Since entering into service in mid-June, 265,000 passengers travelled on the hybrid P&O Pioneer in the course of the summer, experiencing the comfort and exceptional facilities of the first of two brand new vessels being introduced on the route.

Around the UK, P&O Ferries’ routes overall saw a 39 per cent increase in total passenger volume on the previous year.

P&O Ferries CEO, Peter Hebblethwaite said “We are delighted by the trust that our customers have put into us to deliver a best-in-class offering on important trade and tourist routes between the UK and the EU. We are serving our customers better than ever and seeing P&O Ferries surging ahead again as the market leader on the Dover-Calais route.

“We are excited that more customers are choosing us on our journey to the sustainable future of travel, and we look forward to welcoming millions more for the exceptional and unique experience of sailing on our new hybrid ships in the months ahead.”

June saw the introduction of P&O Pioneer, the world’s largest double-ended hybrid ferry, which has the capacity to carry over half a million goods units a year between the UK and the EU.

In early 2024, P&O Ferries’ second hybrid vessel, P&O Liberté, will enter service on the Dover-Calais route, as P&O Ferries launches a new era of cross-Channel ferry travel as the first operator to service the route only using hybrid Fusion Class ships.

These advanced vessels, specifically designed to serve the busy Dover-Calais crossing, enable more passengers to make sustainable choices and support reduced emissions in the supply chain, helping industries across the economy to meet their emissions targets.