Pan-European ferry operator P&O Ferries is doubling freight capacity at its Zeebrugge hub in order to meet increased structural demand from exporters to Britain.
After signing an agreement with Zeebrugge port operator MBZ, the P&O Ferries’ terminal will be extended by 14 hectares to incorporate a fourth berth and enhanced rail infrastructure, according to the ferry operator.
P&O Ferries expects that the expansion will provide a capacity to handle 700,000 units of freight every year at the Belgian terminal, compared with the current figure of 370,000.
“In addition to the fourth RO-RO berth, the new terminal will also have facilities to handle LO-LO vessels, barges and feeder ships,” Janette Bell, Chief Commercial Officer at P&O Ferries, said.
The announcement comes a week after the company reported an increase of 15.5 percent in freight volumes on the Zeebrugge-Tilbury route in the second quarter of 2016, reaching the highest quarterly total in the nine year history of the route.
Namely, P&O Ferries carried 58,195 freight units between Zeebrugge and Tilbury from April to June, up from 50,378 reported in the same quarter in 2015.
In 2015, P&O Ferries carried more freight across the English Channel than in any previous year since 2003. The company’s ships transported 1.34 million units of freight during the 12-month period – an increase of 22 per cent year on year.