P&O Ferries launches 2nd Hybrid Vessel on Dover-Calais Route

P&O Liberté has now begun commercial sailings between Dover and Calais, carrying passenger and freight customers.

Custom designed to navigate the English Channel, this marks the beginning of a lifetime of service across one of the world’s busiest shipping routes, according to the company.

P&O Liberté continues P&O Ferries’ investment in the latest technology to offer customers the best available crossing while cutting carbon emissions by up to 40% through the use of a hybrid power generation system, added the firm.

P&O Liberté and P&O Pioneer, the two Fusion-Class vessels deployed by P&O Ferries in their Channel fleet and the first two vessels in their class, are propelled by a combination of traditional fuel and battery power.

They have the potential for carbon neutral operation in future, once shore power improvements at ports are implemented.

P&O Pioneer entered service on the Channel crossing in June last year as the world’s largest double-ended hybrid ferry, according to the business.

P&O Ferries chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite said: “The arrival of our second revolutionary hybrid vessel means we can offer even more of our customers the best travel experience and facilities available on the Channel.

“In the nine months since the first of our new vessels entered service, P&O Pioneer has become a transport icon, contributing to the 135,000 tons of carbon emissions reduced from our operations in the last two years.

“Our customers – tourist and freight – have welcomed our new hybrid ship with open arms and we are excited to bring P&O Liberté into service.

“Today we are upgrading our fleet, delivering an unrivalled service to our customers and leading in the decarbonisation of ferry travel in the UK and Europe.”

At 230m long and more than 47,000gt each, P&O Liberté and P&O Pioneer together represent a £250 million (€292.4 million) investment in transport capacity.

Last year more than 3.5 million passengers and nearly 800,000 freight units travelled with P&O Ferries on the Dover-Calais route.

Each of the new vessels is expected to carry out more than 100,000 crossings of the Channel in its lifetime.

Introduction of the second new hybrid vessels comes after P&O Ferries announced last month it had cut almost 50,000 tons of carbon emissions from its operation in 2023. This followed a reduction of more than 85,000 tons in 2022.

The company sacked about 800 workers in 2022 over a Zoom call as a cost-cutting measure.

The Guardian newspaper recently reported that P&O Ferries has paid some of its crew members less than half of the UK minimum wage.