Welcome boost for road freight at Calais

Date Added: 13 October 2021

As a major provider of European overland trailer services and a significant user of the port of Calais, Davies Turner notes that the port has inaugurated a EUR863 million major infrastructure extension that aims to significantly facilitate the transit of freight and passenger traffic.

The port extension, which has taken six years to complete, sees the creation of three ferry stations with “floating gangways” allowing passenger and heavy goods vehicles to be loaded and unloaded on four lanes simultaneously compared with two previously, offering a time saving of 30% per stopover.

A 3-kilometre sea wall has been built, 65 hectares of land has been landscaped, including 45 hectares reclaimed from the sea, and 39 buildings for the operation and reception of port customers have been built too.

The “new Port of Calais” will receive its first regular ships in October, Port Authority said, adding: “With heavy goods traffic which has practically doubled and a volume of cross-Channel freight which has tripled over the past 20 years, the infrastructure of the Port of Calais no longer made it possible to ensure an optimal quality of service. Once the port's capacity limit had been reached, its extension appeared essential.

“Beyond increasing the capacity of the terminals, the challenge was also to accommodate future generations of ferries over 220 metres long which require longer docking quays and whose manoeuvres require larger basins.”

Peter Hebblethwaite, managing director of Ropax Ferry Services at port customer P&O Ferries, said: “Improving flows through the port, combined with the constantly improving service we provide to our freight and tourist customers, make us more competitive than ever. The new Port of Calais, our future ‘super-ferries’ to be brought into service in 2023 and the post-Covid recovery make us confident about the future.” 

Freight traffic at Calais fell to 1.7 million truck units in 2020 having reached two million units in 2018 - impacted by the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it has picked up after a slow start to 2021 due particularly to Brexit-related stockpiling in the UK and at end-July was up 0.5% on the same month last year.

For more information about Davies Turner’s European roadfreight forwarding and logistics services, please contact [email protected] or visit https://www.daviesturner.com/road-freight

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