Truck traffic up on short Channel ferry routes

By Categories: NewsPublished On: Friday 21 February 2014

roaduserlevyRo-ro freight traffic on the Dover Straits grew rapidly last year, with both Dover and Calais ferry ports reporting double-digit percentage growth over 2012.

Dover has recorded its best full-year’s traffic figures for freight vehicles since 2009, handling 2,206,728 units, a rise of 13 per cent on 2012. This consists of trucks and unaccompanied trailers transported on services to and from Calais and Dunkirk.

While growth in 2013 had been principally driven by a rise in the number of vessels operating on routes from Dover on 2012, last year had also produced a ’net’ increase in market demand, the Port of Dover’s chief executive, Tim Waggott, explained.

“The overall freight market, on the strait, including Eurotunnel, grew by just over 150,000 freight units or 4.5 per cent – which in itself is very encouraging as it continues the growth trend which has gathered pace since the 2009 recession, allowing Dover to increase its market share to circa 62 per cent (2012: 57 per cent).”

At the Port of Calais, there was a 21 per cent rise in truck and unaccompanied trailer throughput to 1,658,299 units.

However, the French Channel port qualified the growth in traffic by pointing out that in 2012 volumes had been “abnormally low” (down 13 per cent on the previous year) due to the suspension of SeaFrance’s services at the end of 2011.

Calais is now served by three operators, including SeaFrance’s successor MyFerryLink, which has “enhanced its attractiveness.” MyFerryLink is understood to have some 10 per cent of the short-channel freight market, including EuroTunnel.

The French port expects the overall freight market on the strait to increase by between 2.5 and 3.5 per cent this year.