British hauliers offering traction services are likely to get a boost when P&O opens a new unaccompanied freight route between Calais and Tilbury.
Tilbury is just 25 miles from central London, the route will also bypass possible Brexit-induced congestion around the Kent ports, and save up to 75 road miles for trailers destined for the east midlands and beyond.
P&O Ferries has chartered the Caroline Russ, with a 100-trailer Ro-Ro capacity, to serve the route. There will be two sailings each weekday, with one each on Saturday and Sunday, and each crossing timed at eight hours. The first arrival of each day is an overnight sailing, and P&O Ferries said that the ship would be given priority unloading, enabling trailers to be collected and on the M25 by 5.30 am, ahead of the morning peak.
P&O expects the route to carry 50,000 units in the first year of operation, with the traffic being dominated by time-sensitive cargoes such as fruit and veg.
Tilbury will open a new river berth next April, which will enable a trebling of volumes on the existing Zeebrugge service to 600,000 trailers a year.