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Cross channel freight growth drives new Poole-Bilbao service for Brittany Ferries

By 20/01/2016March 2nd, 2016Brittany Ferries, Press Release, Spain
  • New route follows strong freight growth in 2015 – up 20% across all Brittany Ferries routes to France and Spain
  • Western Channel is strongest area for freight growth overall, up 11.1% in 2015, compared with 4.2% for short ferry routes and Eurotunnel and 3.8% for the Irish Sea
  • Brittany Ferries’ first sailing took place on1 January 1973, the day Britain joined the EEC.
  • The company was set up as a freight-only operator, running from Roscoff in Brittany to Plymouth, with the aim of bringing French agricultural products to a wider British market

Brittany Ferries has chartered a vessel to carry freight between Poole and Bilbao, in northern Spain. A pure RoRo craft, Pelican has the capacity for around one hundred unaccompanied trailers and twelve drivers and will begin service with the company in early February.

Last year Brittany Ferries reported a 20 per cent increase in freight carried across all its routes and the Western Channel was the largest growth area for sea-going freight last year. This year has also started strongly and Brittany Ferries believes that greater capacity offered by Pelican, particularly for unaccompanied trailers, will drive even more business through the port of Poole.

“Freight activity to and from the United Kingdom is undergoing a period of strong growth, particularly the unaccompanied market,” commented Simon Wagstaff, Brittany Ferries freight director.  “We see this on a daily basis in the cargo decks of our vessels, especially on those operating to and from Spain. Our charter of Pelican will help us meet growing demand from freight customers and free up more garage space on other ships for accompanied freight and holiday makers.”

Pelican comes from shipping company Maritime Nantaise and will operate two round-trips per week. The charter, which includes crew, is for twelve months, but with the option of extension.

“There is a very limited charter market for this type of vessel and we were delighted to find a cost-effective vessel on the French International Register,” added Simon Wagstaff. “This will allow us to operate effectively, but also to balance the books in this important area of our activity.”

Pelican specifications :

  • Vessel type : RoRo
  • Constructed: 1999 in Norway.
  • Length: 155.5 m
  • Power: 1 WARTSILA engine, delivering 15 600 kW at 500 rpm
  • Speed: 14 to 20 knots.



About Brittany Ferries

Brittany Ferries is a passenger car and freight service operating from eleven ports, linking four countries: UK – France, UK – Spain and Ireland – France. Brittany Ferries is the market leader on the Western Channel, and a leading supplier of ferry-inclusive motoring holidays to France and Spain. Further information can be found by visiting: www.brittanyferries.com.


For further information please contact:

Nigel Wonnacott on 02392 402 943 or 07833 446 729 or [email protected]

Christopher Jones on 02392 402 965 or 07917 540 878 or [email protected]