London Medway’s unaccompanied freight service hits 50,000 units milestone amid ongoing Dover delays

14 February 2023

London Medway’s unaccompanied freight service between the UK and France has reached a new milestone - with trade numbers rising by two-third since its launch. 

The cross-channel route, which is run by DFDS, has experienced a 65 per cent increase in daily unit volumes since the service began in July 2021. 

In recent weeks, the Sheerness to Calais service hit a new landmark, as it has now moved more than 50,000 trailers on vessels at the port since it was first launched.

The partnership was introduced in response to growing demand from cargo owners and hauliers, who view it as a solution to ongoing congestion issues and delays in Dover. 

It is the latest milestone for the port operator, part of the Peel Ports group, which previously revealed in August last year it had witnessed a 34 per cent increase in units over one fortnight as Dover again faced operational issues.

Richard Goffin, Port Director at London Medway, said: “We’re hugely proud at how well the DFDS service has performed since it was launched over 18 months ago.

“Reaching the 50,000 units milestone for the route feels like a real landmark moment for everyone involved in the service. 

“The rise in daily unit volumes over that time has also proven what we have long argued – that there is a real need for a viable alternative route for the UK’s supply chain given ongoing congestion around Dover and the shift in demand for increased unaccompanied services.

“At Peel Ports, we believe companies should look to move non-perishable cargo on unaccompanied services such as ours because they are more reliable, rather than have it travel on as accompanied freight, which has multiple points of failure.

“We look forward to building on our strong working relationship with DFDS in the months ahead and to continuing to see this service go from strength to strength.”

Unaccompanied freight, which sees trailers and containers shipped without a driver, is seen by some in the industry as a major way of overcoming challenges with customs delays, driver shortages and storage.