In a sign of the continuing strength of exports to and from Britain during 2016, P&O Ferries today announces that it handled more freight units at its principal continental hub at Zeebrugge than in any year since it began operations from the Belgian port in 1966.
The ferry and logistics company handled 420,000 freight units at Zeebrugge last year. This figure surpasses the previous record of 398,650, which was set in 2015, by more than five per cent.
Contrary to expectations that the Brexit referendum in June would adversely affect trade, volumes were evenly split between the first and second halves of the year.
From its Zeebrugge hub, P&O Ferries operates services across the North Sea to Tilbury, Hull and Teesport respectively; it also operates incoming rail services to the Belgian port from Central and Eastern Europe.
The terminal was enlarged by 14 hectares at the end of last year, so that it now comprises a fourth berth and significantly enhanced rail infrastructure which will almost double annual capacity to 700,000 freight units.
Janette Bell, Managing Director of P&O Ferries, said: “This robust performance shows that structural demand from continental exporters to Britain is continuing to increase and that our hub at Zeebrugge is the key gateway to ports along the east coast.”
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 20 vessels which carry more than 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.