Cross-Channel ferries prepare for 2022 bounce-back year

English Channel ferry firms are hoping to feel the boost of Calais’ large port extension from October this year as well as injection of funds and new ferries in the fleet.

Cross-Channel operator Brittany Ferries is hoping for a ‘bounce-back year’ in 2022 with a fourfold increase on 2021 passenger numbers and a €25m injection from a new partner to boost its freight service.

Other firms which operate the Dover- Calais route are buoyed by a huge port extension – and associated new 1,000m² duty-free shop – at Calais which goes into operation in October and means it can now handle the next generation of larger ferries.

Brittany Ferries, relying on passengers for 80% of its income up to now, was hard-hit by Covid travel restrictions over the last 18 months and had to suspend several crossings between Ireland, France, England and Spain.

Now the firm has attracted new investment from French shipping and container giant CMA CGM to improve its freight capacity.

Six years of construction work, costing €863million, have resulted in a new three-kilometre dyke and three new ferry berths. It doubles the previous capacity of the port that, on average, welcomes 10 million passengers a year, in addition to its extensive freight operations.

Investment in the port already seems to be paying off. In June, Irish Ferries became the third company to operate Dover-Calais ferries, joining P&O Ferries and DFDS.

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