P&O Ferries are set to resume sailings across the Channel from next week, the company claims.
It’s three ferries, which previously made 70 freight crossings a day, have been tied up since the company sacked 800 staff on 17 March as a cost-saving measure.
According to the FT, the company said on Wednesday it hoped to have two ferries sailing the Dover to Calais route next week, subject to UK regulatory sign-off.
“P&O has been working closely with regulators to ensure our ships are safe to sail. P&O is looking forward to welcoming back vital services and we expect to have two of our vessels ready to sail on the Dover-Calais route by next week, subject to regulatory signoff,” a spokesperson said.
Vessels need to undergo safety checks by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) before they are allowed back in service, and these can take several days to complete.
The MCA said it has not scheduled any further inspections of P&O ships. In total, eight P&O Ferries need to be inspected, reports the BBC.
While P&O ferries have been inactive, customers have been passed to DFDS, however from Friday this arrangement ends, reports the Daily Mail.
In a tweet yesterday, P&O said: “Our Passenger Services are suspended this weekend. We sincerely apologise, for travel 8/9/10April please re-book directly with another operator before arriving at the port. DFDS are not able to transfer PO customers onto their ships.”
The ongoing dispute has dramatically reduced the freight capacity of Dover
The company noted that in 2019, its market share of cross-Channel freight volumes was over 50%, reports the Loadstar.
In 2017 P&O Ferries said it carried more freight across the Channel in the first six months of the year than in any first half in its modern history.
The company’s six ships on the Dover-Calais route transported 710,813 lorries between January and June, a 10.4% increase on 2016, which was the previous best ever year.
As previously reported in the IOE&IT Daily Update, Dover has faced disruption in the past week due to a combination of P&O’s suspended ships, Easter traffic, and poor weather.
P&O said that from next week it also expected to run services between Larne in Northern Ireland and Cairnryan in Scotland, and between Hull and Rotterdam.