P&O Ferries announced on 18 April 2017  that it will launch a new dedicated freight service between its Zeebrugge and Hull terminals on 3 May.

The ferry and logistics company has chartered the 118m Elisabeth, a 5,000gt container ship which will make three round-trips per week between Zeebrugge and Hull.

The new sailings will complement P&O Ferries’ existing combined tourist and freight service between Hull and the Belgian port, with the two ships on the route undergoing an £8.5 million relaunch earlier this year.

Janette Bell, Managing Director of P&O Ferries, said: “We have designed this new freight service and our timetable around the needs of our customers, who have told us that reliability and the lowest possible terminal waiting times are vital to their businesses.

“The new service will offer fast and efficient turnaround times in both ports, with our recently expanded Zeebrugge terminal having optimised handling at our freight gate to help customers’ delivery commitments. We will carry all types of lift units on the new service including containers and swap bodies.

“We expect demand for sea transport to and from Britain to increase in the years ahead, driven by a rising population and the continuing strength of the British economy. Our expanded freight service between Zeebrugge and Hull will further increase our customers’ options for the fast and reliable delivery of goods.”

Zeebrugge is the ferry and logistics company’s main continental hub. Overseas exporters to Britain benefit from P&O Ferries’ dedicated freight routes from Zeebrugge to Teesport and Tilbury as well as Hull. The company has enhanced rail facilities at the port which handle the growing proportion of its cargoes which originate in Central and Eastern Europe. And exporters from Britain benefit from onward connectivity to northern Spain and Gothenburg via services operated by lines in partnership with P&O Ferries.

Earlier this month P&O Ferries reported that it had carried more freight across the English Channel in the first three months of the year than in any Q1 in its modern history, with the company’s six ships on the Dover-Calais route transporting 361,100 lorries – an 11 per cent increase on the same period in 2016.