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DFDS freight ferry service between Sheerness and Calais suspended at short notice


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A freight ferry service between Sheppey and France has been suspended at short notice.

Operator DFDS halted the service on Saturday because of unnamed "operational difficulties".

DFDS ferry Maxine being loaded at Sheerness before sailing to Calais. Picture: KMTV
DFDS ferry Maxine being loaded at Sheerness before sailing to Calais. Picture: KMTV

The last sailing from Sheerness Docks was on Friday at 11am.

An announcement on the company's website said: "Owing to operational difficulties the unaccompanied service between Calais and Sheerness will be suspended with effect from Saturday 15th January until further notice, with the last departure being from Sheerness at 11:00 hrs on Friday 14th January."

It has promised to introduce a temporary alternative service between Dover and France, exclusively for Calais to Sheerness shipping companies, to "underline our continued commitment to our valued customers" .

It added: "We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that when shipping via the Port of Dover, ancillary charges specific to the port shall apply as normal (port tax and demurrage after 24 hours standage).

"We sincerely hope the unfortunate situation we currently face will be rectified and DFDS Sheerness unaccompanied services will be reinstated very soon."

DFDS suspends unaccompanied ferry service between Sheerness and Calais
DFDS suspends unaccompanied ferry service between Sheerness and Calais

The daily route, which carried unaccompanied lorry trailers, was launched with a fanfare in July. The ship, Maxine, can carry up to 165 trailers.

Wayne Bullen, freight sales director at DFDS, said: “There are operational factors which have contributed to the decision to suspend the service.

"We are presently in deep discussions and sincerely hope an acceptable solution can be found soon.

"We remain committed to our unaccompanied freight service which is still available (and supported by our customers) via Dover.”

Trailers are dropped off on one side of the English Channel, loaded onto the ferry, and then unloaded at the other side by a different driver.

DFDS freight director Wayne Bullen
DFDS freight director Wayne Bullen
Lorry being loaded onto the new DFDS ferry Maxine at Sheerness bound for Calais. Picture: KMTV
Lorry being loaded onto the new DFDS ferry Maxine at Sheerness bound for Calais. Picture: KMTV
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