Hybrid Ferry Launch Marks a Major Milestone in Sustainable Transport on Dover-Calais Route

  • P&O Ferries launches new hybrid ship, P&O Pioneer, on Dover-Calais, marking the realisation of £250M investment in UK trade and travel.
  • New hybrid ferry promises cleaner, greener cross-channel travel, bringing a 40% reduction in carbon emissions.
  • The ship will be the world’s largest double-ended hybrid ferry, with two bridges meaning there is no need for it to turn in port, saving fuel on every roundtrip.

19th June 2023 – London, UK: Today, P&O Ferries’ new hybrid ship, P&O Pioneer, will make its maiden voyages, sailing tourist passengers and vital trade business across the channel between Dover and Calais.

P&O Pioneer has been designed to reduce carbon emissions on the UK’s most important trade route, which carries over £144bn of goods by ferry alone.

The ship is propelled by a combination of traditional fuel and battery power and has been designed with the capacity to become carbon neutral in future. The major investment in these two 230m long hybrid ships allows P&O Ferries to cut fuel use while maintaining capacity.

P&O Pioneer is the next step in P&O Ferries’ commitment to the Dover-Calais route, with the P&O Pioneer expected to do more than 100,000 crossings of the Channel in its lifetime.

The introduction of new, more efficient ships comes after the integrated transport and logistics company’s best-ever sustainability performance in 2022 – when it achieved a nine per cent carbon reduction.

The modular elements of the ship mean its electric power capabilities will develop in the future. As technology develops and charging stations are brought in at ports, the installation of additional batteries will allow fully electric operation.

The ship will also be the world’s largest double-ended hybrid ferry, with two bridges meaning there is no need for it to turn in port, saving fuel on every trip.

As the longest ferry to sail between Dover and Calais, P&O Pioneer and its sister ship P&O Liberté, which will join the fleet later this year, will replace the capacity of three older vessels with just two, delivering further efficiency benefits.

Peter Hebblethwaite, CEO of P&O Ferries said: “P&O Pioneer marks a new era in low-carbon travel and trade for the UK and France, with the investment of £250m in new hybrid ships on the iconic Dover-Calais route.

“For the millions of passengers who sail with P&O Ferries between the UK and France, our two ultra-modern vessels being introduced this year will deliver a fantastic travel experience.

“We are determined to make P&O Ferries the best ferry company in Europe. That means: the best ships, the best routes, and the best value for our customers.”

On P&O Pioneer, freight customers moving goods between the UK and EU on the busy Dover-Calais route will benefit from:

  • Increased capacity for trade – P&O Pioneer has the capacity to carry up to half a million goods units a year between the UK and the EU, an increase on the class of ship it replaces.
  • Reduced emissions – In service, the two new ferries Pioneer and Liberté will produce 40% less carbon emissions than the ships they replace, helping industries across the economy, such as freight and logistics operators, retailers, and manufacturers, to meet their emissions targets.
  • Flexible travel: Companies will get continued access to our space charter partnership with DFDS, giving them access to more turn up and go services.
  • Better driver facilities: The largest ever dedicated space for freight drivers on the Dover-Calais route, including a separate dining area, lounge, and showers, giving them the chance to relax, refresh and recharge.

The ferry crossing from Dover to Calais offers passengers the chance to stretch their legs, relax and take in the view, enjoy a drink or a meal, and take advantage of duty-free shopping.

P&O Pioneer Food Market

P&O Pioneer provides an even better travel experience for tourists, including:

  • Kids Zone & Teen Zone – P&O Pioneer provides more entertainment options for children of all ages. The bespoke design has a maritime-themed soft play area with thoughtfully placed seating areas for parents. Older children and teenagers are well catered for with interactive digital screens, including a Digital Selfie Wall, Arcade Games, plenty of charging points and excellent Wi-Fi.
  • Pet Lounge ​– The Pet Lounge provides an upgraded experience for pet owners to travel in comfort with a bright, welcoming space, complimentary hot drinks and an outdoor exercise area which can be directly accessed from its own dedicated lift. P&O is the first ferry company to offer a pet lounge on the Dover-Calais route, providing travellers with an alternative way to travel with their pets.
  • World Duty Free Shopping –The new ship will have P&O’slargest onboard duty-free shopping (588m2) from P&O’s travel retail partner World Duty Free. Travellers will be able to get up to 40% off high street prices on a range of products.
  • Food Market –The new layout has been inspired by food markets seen in train stations and airports with ‘grab and go’ options and self-serve tills. The design elements incorporate greenery and woodland scenes to create a natural, calm feel for the food market. There is something for all tastes, including pizzas, paninis and a delicious selection of salads, sandwiches, sweet treats and drinks.
  • The Kitchen – The bright and airy dining area, with feature floor to ceiling windows, delivers our new hot food grab and go menu; including our very popular hand battered haddock and chip, our new buttermilk chicken burger and our moving mountains vegan burger.  We also have a new children’s offering, including chicken nuggets and a cheeseburger.
  • Accessibility – P&O Ferries assist, wherever possible, to make their services accessible and easy for those with additional needs. P&O Pioneer has two additional passenger lifts (five lifts in total) aiding those with reduced mobility, all seating areas have space for wheelchairs and counters have been designed to ensure wheelchair accessibility. P&O Pioneer will also be the first to have a ‘Changing Places’ toilet on the Dover-Calais ferry route. The Changing Places toilet is a larger facility with a changing bench and hoist to support disabled people who need assistance.
  • Club Lounge – The private lounge has been designed to offer an elegant environment with a subtle colour palette, high-quality materials, soundproofing, soft and comfortable seating and a dedicated outside deck area. Guests can enjoy all-inclusive premium hot and cold food and drinks, which will be in the self-service style seen in an airport lounge. This ticket upgrade is truly the perfect space to start and finish your journey with P&O Ferries.
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