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

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