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The Ferry Man

P&O Tilbury - Calais (new route)

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9 hours ago, The Ferry Man said:

Not quite that far north, but P&O are stating an intention for a Tilbury to Calais freight service...

 

(Posted on Dover Ferries Forum: http://dfe.boards.net/thread/808/calais-tilbury?page=1&scrollTo=14114, www.facebook.com/groups/223856147984161/permalink/880476475655455/)

How interesting, thanks FM.

There is so much about this to discuss that I’ll move it to its own thread.

The obvious one is why freight drivers passing Tilbury would opt to stop off for a once per day ferry crossing that will take probably 7-8 hours, in preference for driving an hour and a half further on to get one of the 90 minute sailings from Dover that depart roughly every 20 minutes.  But I’ll leave that for others!

Suffice it to say, it may be that the intention is to take unaccompanied freight, and to route that away from Dover may be no bad thing.  Tilbury is well set up for that, and clearly P&O already operate out of both Tilbury and Calais.

The other main point of interest is the operational one.  Which vessel?  European Seaway would seem the superficially obvious choice - but I am not aware of any means by which she would be able to load her upper deck at Tilbury.  

But I am very interested in how they will manage the linkspan arrangements.  Calais berths are configured in the unique Dover Straits / North Channel arrangement where the bridge drops from shoreside onto the ferry, and Tilbury is configured like everywhere else - ramp drops from ferry onto shore.  (This was the reason Zeebrugge is no longer capable of taking Dover ferries - because there are no longer any Dover-compatible linkspans at Zeebrugge).  So....which ship will be suitable for loading at both Tilbury and Calais?  If a through-loader then one end could be configured for one port and the other for the other.  But a stern-only loader would find the linkspan arrangements a major problem.

All of which leads me to wonder whether P&O’s intention might be to use the old car carrier berth at Calais, instead of the main ferry port?  It might make sense to keep unaccompanied freight away from the main ferryport?  Then again, is the old car carrier berth still usable after its encounter with Pride of Kent?

Plenty of food for discussion.

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Tilbury Port are building a new roro terminal at the old tilbury power station [named as tilbury2] not sure when it will be completed . Ian

 

Edited by ian234
additional wording

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I don't think that the car carrier berth which was hit by the Kent is in use, pretty sure one of the piles is still bent. However there is some new single linkspan berths at the far end of the harbour, where the old Hoverspeed seacat berth is.

Not sure if Tilbury would have a double deck link span like Dover-Calais, since Boulogne/Calais/Dunkerque would be pretty much the only destinations for such a vessel.

Of course, the European Endeavour would have been perfect - loading ramp aft, bow has Calais fitting.

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12 hours ago, Gareth said:

C'est intéressant, merci FM.

Il y a tellement de choses à discuter que je vais le faire passer à son propre fil.

La raison la plus évidente est la raison pour laquelle les transporteurs de fret qui passent près de Tilbury choisiraient de s’arrêter pour une traversée en ferry une fois par jour, ce qui prendra probablement entre 7 et 8 heures. Dover qui part environ toutes les 20 minutes. Mais je laisserai ça aux autres!

Disons simplement que l’intention est peut-être de prendre des marchandises non accompagnées, et de les acheminer loin de Douvres n’est pas une mauvaise chose. Tilbury est bien préparé pour cela, et il est clair que P & O opère déjà à partir de Tilbury et de Calais.

L’autre point d’intérêt principal est le point de vue opérationnel. Quel bateau? La voie maritime européenne semblerait un choix superficiel - mais je ne connais aucun moyen par lequel elle pourrait charger son pont supérieur à Tilbury.  

Mais je suis très intéressé par la façon dont ils gèreront les accords Linkspan. Les postes à quai de Calais sont configurés selon un agencement unique, le pont descendant du rivage sur le ferry, et Tilbury est configuré comme partout ailleurs: la rampe descend du ferry au rivage. (C’est la raison pour laquelle Zeebrugge n’est plus capable de prendre les ferries Dover - car il n’ya plus de liens compatibles avec Dover à Zeebrugge). Alors .... quel navire pourra-t-il être chargé à Tilbury et à Calais? Si un chargeur en transit, une extrémité peut être configurée pour un port et l’autre pour l’autre. Mais un chargeur uniquement à l'arrière trouverait que les arrangements de liaison étaient un problème majeur.

Ce qui m'amène à me demander si l'intention de P & O serait peut-être d'utiliser l'ancien poste de transporteur de voitures à Calais au lieu du port de ferry principal. Il pourrait être judicieux de garder les marchandises non accompagnées à l'écart du port de ferry principal? Encore une fois, l’ancienne couchette de porte-voitures est-elle encore utilisable après sa rencontre avec Pride of Kent?

Beaucoup de nourriture pour la discussion.

At Calais we have two ramps. One on which the Pride of Kent made an accident. and another next to the former Seacat berth. It would be useful with the arrival by unaccompanied trailer train

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I never knew my French was so good! 🤣

Thanks both; sounds like that inner berth by the old Seacat terminal may be the answer.  (Assuming Seaway is not the answer to the vessel question, in which case I guess she could use one of the main ferryport berths).

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I wouldn't assume that a RoRo will be used. P&O use a small container ship on Hull-Zeebrugge alongside the passenger vessels and for a short time also used one on Teesport-Zeebrugge.

P&O Ferries are slowly but surely moving more towards becoming a logistics company with increased cooperation and coordination with P&O Ferrymasters to give unaccompanied freight customers a door to door service. They have been running train services to Zeebrugge from Eastern Europe in addition to traditional rail operators services from a variety of locations into their recently expanded terminal and seem to be a major player in the increase in trains from Teesport.

There seems to be a plenty of freight space around the conventional berths on the north side of Calais Harbour and it's rail connected.  It wouldn't surprise me if that is where the new services runs from.

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Reports suggest this service will begin by 15th September. @Timmy suggestion of P&O using freight ships is probably closer to the mark if not accurate as part of the Calais improvements and expansion has included enhanced multi modal berths for freight shipping. 

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P&O have confirmed the new route in an email to freight customers

https://www.niferry.co.uk/po-ferries-to-open-new-calais-freight-route/

 

“P&O Ferries is pleased to announce the launch of a new Calais – Tilbury – Calais daily service operating from end September 2019. This is in response to customer demand for an improved unaccompanied product connecting cargo flows from Calais and Continental rail connections with a location close to London, and therefore supports both your traffic flows and safeguarding your customers’ supply chains with improved BREXIT options.
 
The service will provide space for 12 self-drive tractor-trailers and 90 unaccompanied trailers or containers per sailing. The ship is planned to arrive in Tilbury daily at 0430 hours enabling your driver to be on the M25 before 0600 hours.
 
A new direct route to and from Tilbury gives you quick and direct access to the M25 London markets, the South of England and also all the Regional Distribution centres north of London / along the M1 corridor up to Birmingham.
 
This route saves up to 75 miles / 125 km each way versus the traditional Dover-Calais crossing.
 
Not only will you save fuel, but also save on drivers hours, and wear and tear on your vehicles and trailers.
Fast discharge of vessels means units available in Tilbury 0600 hours or before, placing your drivers on the M25 beating the rush hour.
 
Allocated space for regular round trip shippers guarantees availability to support your contracts.
 
Fast turnaround of units gate to gate on all our terminals.”
 
P&O Ferries

 

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Very interesting; as others have said the departure time from Tilbury would be good to know...the later the better from my perspective ;) 

Edited by Ryan_H

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I reckon the passage time will be something around 6 to 6.5 hours.  A 6.5 hour passage time would require the 0430 arrival in Tilbury to have departed Calais at around 2200 UK time, so 2300 French time.  If there is an 11 o’clock figure in the literature anywhere then I would predict that means a 2300 departure from Calais.

If the outbound sailing mirrors the return sailing then that would mean a 1000 departure from Tilbury, arriving in Calais at 1730 local time.

That schedule would give 5.5 hour turnarounds in both ports.

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Routing will be interesting - if they routed inside the Goodwin Sands then it may be possible to cut something off my estimated passage time.  But they wouldn’t be able to guarantee taking the shorter route in all weathers, so I reckon the published schedule will be predicated on routing east of the Goodwin Sands.

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Looks interesting and is definitely the direction of travel for non time critical freight - ie unaccompanied trailers or short sea containers. As a model it works well for the international transport companies, however is less useful for the single truck owner operators.

It is interesting that BF are keeping Poole - Bilbao open so they must have a decent demand,  however I imagine there must be a limit on how many unaccompanied trailers BF can do in the short turnaround ropax vessels which they are pinning their future on ! 

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P&O could be negotiating the use of the Stena Freight Vessel 'M/V Caroline Russ' on the Calais -Tilbury route. Nothing signed or confirmed .

'M/V Caroline Russ' is currently en route from Genova to Viana do Castelo In Portugal where they have a dry dock.

https://www.stenalinefreight.com/ships/Caroline-Russ

Edited by TonyMWeaver
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Interestingly, but coincidental, in June the City of London announced plans to consolidate all its wholesale markets (New Spits, Billingsgate & Smithfield) on a new site just up the road at Dagenham Dock. This too was chosen on access grounds amongst other considerations. 

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On 03/09/2019 at 09:19, Gareth said:

Routing will be interesting - if they routed inside the Goodwin Sands then it may be possible to cut something off my estimated passage time.  But they wouldn’t be able to guarantee taking the shorter route in all weathers, so I reckon the published schedule will be predicated on routing east of the Goodwin Sands.

Would Port of Dover's planned dredging of the sands starting this month in order for them to build the new cargo terminal and marina cut down crossing times?

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8 minutes ago, jonno said:

Would Port of Dover's planned dredging of the sands starting this month in order for them to build the new cargo terminal and marina cut down crossing times?

I wasn’t aware that this dredging is with the intention of creating a maintained navigable channel through the Sands Jonno?  Unless that is the case I can’t see that it would have any bearing on passage time.

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10 minutes ago, Gareth said:

I wasn’t aware that this dredging is with the intention of creating a maintained navigable channel through the Sands Jonno?  Unless that is the case I can’t see that it would have any bearing on passage time.

Thanks Gareth, I've had a bit of read now and see that it's not dredging as such to create a new deep water channel, it's about cheap landfill to build the new logistics hub on top of Dover Marina, the new cargo terminal and a huge container berth.

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Was looking through some other stuff and came across this. I don't imagine P&O's Tilbury-Calais route will be quite as much fun.

image.thumb.png.590af4683354d40b8c1bb7c9821d83c4.png

 

 

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33 minutes ago, Gareth said:

What a great find hhv!  I had no idea Stena had a pre-Sealink history of operation to the UK.

Done a bit more digging - the ship was Stena Nordica, and he route started in 1965.  Not clear how long it lasted, but looks like it might have been just the one season (summer 1965):

http://www.simplonpc.co.uk/StenaNordica1965.html

She did one year then Stena chartered the Prinsessan Christina for the second year. These two would have seemed rather swish by the standards of most 1960s British-based ferries. The route was then lumbered with the altogether less premium Stena Baltica (later Cal Mac's Caledonia) which was the final ship to operate it. The Baltica was built at the same time as the Nordica and her sister but was rather less well outfitted.

I have a copy of a note from 1966 where Stena offered to withdraw from the route if Townsend paid them a quite substantial amount of cash but I'm not sure if that's what actually happened as the route continued for a fair while afterwards.

Its early operational problems suggest it was a success at first (albeit with a lot of free tickets) and they produced some rather lovely marketing; like Thoresen they carpet-bombed the local press with advertising.

image.thumb.png.1c0e96edc97b2856275b1a392e73eee3.png

Edited by hhvferry

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