LD Lines has announced the launch of the largest catamaran to operate on the Cross-Channel route, and the first to carry freight. The 1,200-passenger vessel will start service in May, operating between Dover and Boulogne. Its journey times will be one hour, making it 45 minutes faster than the company’s ferries which operate on the same route.
Weighing in at 11,000 tonnes, it can carry 567m of freight in combination with 195 cars, or a maximum of 417 cars without freight.
With a journey time of one hour, the trip will be 45 minutes faster than that on the company’s conventional ferries on the same route. It will make four crossings a day whilst the LD Lines ferry will continue to make two.
LD Lines took over the Dover-Boulogne route from low-cost operator, Speedferries, which fell into administration in January.
An LD spokesman told "The Telegraph": "Catamarans have proved very costly to operate previously and none of them have managed to successfully establish and sustain a long term business particularly across the Dover Straits. This was caused by the high cost of fuel, which did not allow them to run efficiently, and their inability to carry freight made them very inefficient to operate outside of the peak season. However, fuel prices have reduced in the last 12 months and the new fast ferry can carry freight as well."