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Biggest P&O Ferries ships to sail Dover-Calais after deal with China's Guangzhou Shipyard International

Giant carbon neutral ferries will take to the sea in four years after a P&O signed a €260 million (£229m) contract with a Chinese shipyard.

The two 230-metre vessels will be the largest to ever to sail between Dover and Calais.

P&O boss Janette Bell following the agreement with Guangzhou . Picture: P&O Ferries
P&O boss Janette Bell following the agreement with Guangzhou . Picture: P&O Ferries

They will have room for 1,500 passengers and 1,550 square metres of deck spaces: a total size three-quarters of Trafalgar Square.
The contract also gives the company the chance to build another two by 2024.

The new ships, operating by 2023, are designed to help the environment by cutting fuel use and producing no carbon emissions.

They even have two bridges so they don't need to be turned around in the harbour.

This move follows the company signing the multi-million pound contract with Chinese-based Guangzhou Shipyard International Ltd.

P&O chief executive Janette Bell
P&O chief executive Janette Bell

Janette Bell, chief executive of P&O Ferries, said: “These will be the most sustainable ships ever to sail on the English Channel, providing the best ever customer experience and setting new standards for reliability and cost efficiency.

“They are designed to secure P&O Ferries’ position as a vital part of Europe’s transport infrastructure into the 2040s.”

Robert Woods, Chairman of P&O Ferries, added: “This major investment in a new generation of super-ferries is a powerful testament to the commitment of DP World, our owner, to enable trade flows between Britain and Europe by providing first class shipping capacity for many years to come."

The ships will cut fuel use through a combination of fuel and battery propulsion.

The relationship between the engines and batteries will be like that of the sun and solar panels. Surplus energy from the engines will be stored in the battery.

A present-serving P&O ferry
A present-serving P&O ferry

This means the engines can run at optimum level. The battery will charge when excess energy is created and discharge when the ships needs the most power.

There is also a heat recovery system saving fuel, which reduces the ships' carbon footprint.

The vessels are designed to be carbon neutral through using electric shore charging stations.

During off-peak sailings up to two-thirds of the ships can be closed with lighting and ventilation shut to save energy.

The double bridges, meaning no physical turnaround on arrival and departure, will save seven minutes' journey time.

This will also save one ton of fuel, a sixth of the amount for the entire 21-mile crossing.

The hulls will be far broader that than of the ferries they replace, so also improving manoeuvrability.

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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