P&O Ferries to debut £250m hybrid vessels on Dover to Calais route

P&O Ferries has unveiled a new hybrid vessel that utilises electricity and battery storage technology alongside traditional fuels, which will make journeys across the channel between Dover and Calais.

P&O Ferries to debut £250m hybrid vessels on Dover to Calais route

Image: P&O Ferries Ltd

The new £250m investment has supported the creation of two new hybrid vessels. The P&O Pioneer will make its maiden voyages across the channel shortly, with the Liberté to follow at a later date.

P&O claims the hybrid ships will produce 40% less carbon emissions than the ships they replace. The Pioneer also has the capacity to carry up to half a million goods units a year between the UK and the EU, which is an increase compared to the class of ship it replaces.

The ships are modular, meaning that as charging infrastructure is introduced across ports, P&O can add additional batteries to allow for fully electric operations and further reductions in emissions. The ships are also double-ended, meaning it does not need to turn when arriving in port, which also saves on fuel use.

P&O’s chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite said: “P&O Pioneer marks a new era in low-carbon travel and trade for the UK and France, with the investment of £250m in new hybrid ships on the iconic Dover-Calais route.

“For the millions of passengers who sail with P&O Ferries between the UK and France, our two ultra-modern vessels being introduced this year will deliver a fantastic travel experience. We are determined to make P&O Ferries the best ferry company in Europe. That means: the best ships, the best routes, and the best value for our customers.”

The vessels will reduce emissions across one of the UK’s most important trade routes. The Dover to Calais route carries more than £144bn of goods by ferry alone. The P&O Pioneer is expected to do more than 100,000 crossings of the Channel in its lifetime.

The announcement comes just months after the UK Government committed a further £60m to support the decarbonisation of the maritime sector, with funding set to scale-up a fully electric ferry prototype and hydrogen-powered vessels.

The Government pledged £77m to invest in developed green maritime technology solutions, in a bid to launch a zero-emission vessel on UK seas by 2025 at the latest.

The £77m funding has been made available through the Zero Emission Vessels and Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition. The competition will be overseen by Innovate UK and funding will specifically target “well-developed” solutions that can be scaled.

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