P&O Ferries carried more freight across the English Channel in the first six months of 2017 than in any first half of the year in its modern history.

The ferry and logistics company’s six ships on the Dover-Calais route transported 710,813 lorries between January and June. This figure represents a 10.4 per cent increase on 2016, which was the previous best ever year.

Janette Bell, Managing Director of P&O Ferries, said: “These record volumes illustrate the continuing resilience of the British economy and the vital importance of reliable and punctual cross-Channel transport to thousands of business in Britain and Europe.

“Our rapidly growing freight business is increasingly integrated across road and rail as well as sea. Many of the loads which cross the English Channel on our ships come via lorries from Central and Eastern Europe and we are also seeing more shipments via trains from Spain and the South of France.

“We expect growing populations on both sides of the English Channel to continue to drive higher freight volumes in the years ahead and our door-to-door service is ideally suited to the requirements of exporters across the continent of Europe.”

P&O Ferries’ six ships on the English Channel include the 47,000 ton sister vessels Spirit of Britain and Spirit of France, which have twice the capacity of an ordinary ferry with room for 160 HGV’s and 180 vans. Items transported in large quantities on P&O Ferries’ English Channel fleet include fresh fruit and vegetables, wine and beer, white goods, building materials and components for production lines.

P&O Ferries is a leading pan-European ferry and logistics company, sailing on eight major routes between Britain, France, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Holland and Belgium. It operates more than 20 vessels which carry 10 million passengers, 1.6 million cars and 2.2 million freight units every year.

Together with its logistics division, P&O Ferrymasters, the company also operates integrated road and rail links to countries across the continent including Italy, Poland and Romania. A P&O Ferrymasters-owned rail terminal in the northern Romanian city of Oradea, which will facilitate the onward movement of goods to Britain from the Silk Road, became operational last year.