The Future of P&O Ferries

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BenMyChree
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Post by BenMyChree »

Following on from the rumours of the Darwin Twins heading to the North Channel, I thought a Speculative Thread on the future of P&O may be fun. 

If I were the CEO, I would attempt some sort of rebuild to get P&O back to what it once was. 

Phase One:

Darwins to North Channel, as Pride of Rathlin & Pride Of Ailsa. 
European Highlander & European Causeway to Liverpool- Dublin. 
Norbank & Norbay Refurbished. 
New Dublin - Le Havre Brexit Bypass Route, interworked with Liverpool - Dublin (transhipment available). 

Phase Two:

Continous Internal Refreshment of Fleet Members. 
Two More Fusion Class for Dover - Calais. 
Spirits to Liverpool - Dublin, as Spirit of Britain & Spirit of Ireland. 
Norbank & Norbay to Portsmouth - Le Havre. 

Phase Three
Ideally, P&O would return to Spain in this Phase. 
Pride of Rotterdam & Pride of Hull to a UK/Ireland/Spain Service. 
Replaced at Hull by Chinese successors. 

As for Larne, could a scaled down Fusion Class take the North Channel? Similar set up to Dover - Calais, the efficiencies of Double Enders could also be game changers on the North Channel. 

It would all, of course, be reliant on DP Worlds Backing. 
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ryanh
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Post by ryanh »

I like your suggestions but unfortunately I think it most likely that sooner or later, DP World will pull the plug, and either try to sell P&O Ferries as one entity or split the routes up to different bidders. 
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tumnus2010
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Post by tumnus2010 »

Some nice suggestions, and potentially quite possible re:phase 2 and more Fusions for Dover and the Spirits potentially going to the Irish Sea. 

For phase 3 to shift the Hull boats would mean a lot of investment needed. I'm not for instance which south English coast port could accommodate them if that was in the thinking. I presume you were more thinking of West Coast (Liverpool)?

It would be quite an upshift in freight carrying potential to Spain too. Santona currently can carry 126 trucks. With the Hull twins capable of carrying 400 freight units each. When they do reach the end of their life with P&O I would think it's most likely they end up in the Med.  Possibly on the Naples - Palermo run like the previous two generations of NSF boats before them. 

Unfortunately agree tend to agree with Ryan though that they are more likely to sell routes off than properly invest. 

 
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BenMyChree
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Post by BenMyChree »

Unfortunately, yes, DP are more likely to try closing or selling routes than expansion. They are, however, expanding the P&O brand in their home territory. So, hopefully, they may use their incredible asset to it's full potential at some point. I mean, why buy one of the most iconic Shipping Brands to run it down and close it? It's extremely puzzling. 

Would Pride of Hull/Rotterdam not fit Portsmouth? They don't have a deeper draught or greater length than an E-Flexer do they? 

I know it's a contentious issue, but with P&O operating their new low cost base model, any assault on an incumbent would lead to P&O having a competitive edge (particularly Brittany Ferries). P&O have been on the receiving end of this at Dover. They should, in my opinion, be upping their offer to other Markets. Irish Sea and English Channel are, historically, P&O Territory. 
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tumnus2010
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Post by tumnus2010 »

Yes, fair point. They'd probably fit in Portsmouth in terms of their size. They're same length but a few metres wider than the e-flexers.  A decision would have to be made about the side loading for the car deck though, in any port. In Europort it doesn't take up too much room. In Hull it's a rather creative setup using the terminal building roof as a marshalling bay. It is possible to access the deck via the stern doors, but I think it's lifts rather than ramps fitted currently, so that would be slow going. And probably mess up loading the freight as well. They're almost too bespoke! 

My main thought on capacity would be storing the freight to load and what's waiting to depart, I'm not sure Portsmouth could cope with that alongside the existing sailings with the space available. 

Agree it's tricky to figure out what the strategy is though. Would they try and win a bid for the Shetland and Orkney service again one wonders? I suspect not as Cmal would presumably not entertain their crewing models..but who knows. 

 
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FerryGeek
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Post by FerryGeek »

It would be interesting to see who would buy either the routes individually or the whole entity if that happened.

I'd love to see some differentiation on the western market.
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hhvferry
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Post by hhvferry »

I can believe, just about, the Pride of Kent and Canterbury going to Cairnryan-Larne and maybe even the current pair going to Liverpool or some interesting inter-working between the Norbay/bank and European Highlander and Causeway. Certainly the extra cabins would be useful at Liverpool although the lower lane metres wouldn't be if they were like-for-like replacements.

But the Spirits are pure short-sea day ships with no cabins, far too vast for the demand on the Liverpool-Dublin route and I'd imagine totally incapable of berthing anywhere currently available on the Mersey. The amount of investment to make the ships suitable and building river berths capable of accommodating them only for them to run half empty means it would never happen, even if P&O had money, inclination or need to replace them at Dover.

I agree with the sentiments above: it's likely this company will only get turned around through a sale of the business.
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vikingvoyager
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Post by vikingvoyager »

Sadly, there's very little flexibility / interchangeability left in the P&O fleet.

They have pretty good ships matched to each of their remaining routes but, with the exception of Dover, everything is getting on a bit now. It feels like they could expand on the Irish Sea, if they were committed to it but it's hard to see how the Darwins help much without a lot of investment  (even in them or in whatever cascades to where).  

But while we're playing fantasy ferry companies, I'll send a refreshed pair of Darwins to Cairnryan, but only if the Highlander and Causeway reopen a slimmed down Hull Zeebrugge service (after an accommodation upgrade a la Stena Nordica, to provide improved lounge and dining options for the 330 passengers).  They should fit in the lock at Hull, so no need to rush that second river berth - it can wait until the rebuilt Spirits come to the route in five years time.  

 
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tumnus2010
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Post by tumnus2010 »

vikingvoyager wrote: 12 Jun 2023 22:38 Sadly, there's very little flexibility / interchangeability left in the P&O fleet.

They have pretty good ships matched to each of their remaining routes but, with the exception of Dover, everything is getting on a bit now. It feels like they could expand on the Irish Sea, if they were committed to it but it's hard to see how the Darwins help much without a lot of investment  (even in them or in whatever cascades to where).  

But while we're playing fantasy ferry companies, I'll send a refreshed pair of Darwins to Cairnryan, but only if the Highlander and Causeway reopen a slimmed down Hull Zeebrugge service (after an accommodation upgrade a la Stena Nordica, to provide improved lounge and dining options for the 330 passengers).  They should fit in the lock at Hull, so no need to rush that second river berth - it can wait until the rebuilt Spirits come to the route in five years time.  

Don't forget the need for a new terminal building in King George Dock, the old one has been demolished. But a posh tent a la Holland - Norway Lines could work? Or else just use the one terminal and bus the footies on? 

Would you not want Norbank/Norbay to be "Armoriqued" @vikingvoyager ?
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Post by SilverDot »

Can see P&O Ferries going to freight only operations with P&O Ferrymasters as a public face, integrating with Unifeeder (another DP World multi modal company). DP World using P&O Ferries as brand for new Gulf service from UAE to Iraq. DP World are a freight and trade company - Who We Are "We are the leading provider of smart logistics solutions, enabling the flow of trade across the globe".

On marginal routes withdraw from routes as vessels life expire if cannot be sold off. If not keep operating minimal cost with no passengers to think about. Already operating as separate companies under P&O so easy to do if buyer.

For Dover Calais, Pioneer & Liberté are designed with the ability to switch off passenger sections of the vessel, highlighted under green measures when announced - see first post in P&O Pioneer (IMO 9895161) and P&O Liberté (IMO 9895173). They maybe even more economical to use just for P&O freight, rather than selling off. If National Grid ever power the port for electric ferry operation even more so. Problem is Dover is limited on trailer space.
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vikingvoyager
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Post by vikingvoyager »

tumnus2010 wrote: 12 Jun 2023 22:43 Would you not want Norbank/Norbay to be "Armoriqued" @vikingvoyager ?

I'm all for "repair and reuse" but they are already 20 years old...

As for the terminal at Hull, I'm pretty certain they could manage with just the one
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Post by Sackedseafarer »

Interesting thoughts on P&O Irish Sea the causeway/ highlander can’t operate liverpool Dublin as they have no passenger cabins 
P&O would love to offload the Irish Sea routes apparently an announcement is imminent? Good old Posh Pete will certainly take the company down 
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ryanh
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Post by ryanh »

Sackedseafarer wrote: 17 Aug 2023 14:01 Interesting thoughts on P&O Irish Sea the causeway/ highlander can’t operate liverpool Dublin as they have no passenger cabins 
P&O would love to offload the Irish Sea routes apparently an announcement is imminent? Good old Posh Pete will certainly take the company down 

It's such a shame to see a historic, British name being reduced to what we've seen in recent years. But of course that's all it is, a brand name. No wonder P&O Cruises were so keen to distance themselves last year. 
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Post by VikingGlory »

And then someone acted like I was a mad man to question if they’d still be around in a decade. 
Their downscaling is incredible and altho they will surely still be there in 10 years I wonder in what form. 

The competition seems to evolve way faster than they do everywhere except for maybe the English Channel. 

We probably can’t even rule out DP world just selling them. 

Sad for the brand name but I can’t feel sorry for the current management. 
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ryanh
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Post by ryanh »

Some good points made on that website about the wisdom of allowing the then P&O group to be sold to Dubai in the first place. 
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Post by SilverDot »

This is across all shipping industries as the CV-19 bounce rebounds. Similar results reported CMA-CGM, Maersk and co. P&O is included for click bait.
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hhvferry
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Post by hhvferry »

SilverDot wrote: 17 Aug 2023 15:56
This is across all shipping industries as the CV-19 bounce rebounds. Similar results reported CMA-CGM, Maersk and co. P&O is included for click bait.
I have a policy of not clicking on Daily Mail links and I suspect I was right in this case 😁 Is there anything of merit in the article?
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Post by VikingGlory »

SilverDot wrote: 17 Aug 2023 15:56
This is across all shipping industries as the CV-19 bounce rebounds. Similar results reported CMA-CGM, Maersk and co. P&O is included for click bait.
Makes sense, my bad. 
 
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Post by SilverDot »

hhvferry wrote: 17 Aug 2023 16:13
SilverDot wrote: 17 Aug 2023 15:56
This is across all shipping industries as the CV-19 bounce rebounds. Similar results reported CMA-CGM, Maersk and co. P&O is included for click bait.
I have a policy of not clicking on Daily Mail links and I suspect I was right in this case 😁 Is there anything of merit in the article?
Fairly innocuous but nothing of ferry merit.

Profits fell by 9.7% to $651m on $9bn turnover. DP World handling more freight up 3.9% to 39.9m TEUs increasing turnover by 13.9%. Like other shippers more downside as shipping rates normalise.
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Post by Danim »

Sackedseafarer wrote: 17 Aug 2023 14:01 Interesting thoughts on P&O Irish Sea the causeway/ highlander can’t operate liverpool Dublin as they have no passenger cabins
Really! I see them listed as having 331 beds, which is more than the 114 on the Nor(s). But I see no reason they would move them to Dublin!

Peter Hebbelthwaite recently said:
“We are thrilled to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Larne-Cairnryan route, a remarkable milestone for P&O Ferries, our teams on both sides of the Irish Sea, and the local community,” 
”Larne-Cairnryan has been instrumental in supporting economic growth, connecting people, and creating opportunities in Northern Ireland and Scotland. We are immensely proud of this longstanding commitment and look forward to many more years of providing our passengers and freight customers with exceptional service.”


 
Sackedseafarer wrote: 17 Aug 2023 14:01 P&O would love to offload the Irish Sea routes apparently an announcement is imminent
Source?
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Post by eddies »

I too remember a saying by P&O back in the day when they was in Portsmouth, they said we have a 5 year plan which needed new ways to run 3 months later and round 2nd of redundancy was being handed out, 5 years later the last boat left.
In today's world, no business is safe for what ever reason we would like to think off.
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BenMyChree
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Post by BenMyChree »

Sackedseafarer wrote: 17 Aug 2023 14:01 Interesting thoughts on P&O Irish Sea the causeway/ highlander can’t operate liverpool Dublin as they have no passenger cabins 
P&O would love to offload the Irish Sea routes apparently an announcement is imminent? Good old Posh Pete will certainly take the company down 

European Causeway & European Highlander are cited as having 331 Berths. 

And, if fitted with a Stena Nordica style accommodation extension could revitalise P&O at Liverpool and any potential Ireland to Mainland 'Bypass' Route. 
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Post by fiobhaniar »

BenMyChree wrote: 22 Aug 2023 07:34
Sackedseafarer wrote: 17 Aug 2023 14:01 Interesting thoughts on P&O Irish Sea the causeway/ highlander can’t operate liverpool Dublin as they have no passenger cabins 
P&O would love to offload the Irish Sea routes apparently an announcement is imminent? Good old Posh Pete will certainly take the company down 

European Causeway & European Highlander are cited as having 331 Berths. 

And, if fitted with a Stena Nordica style accommodation extension could revitalise P&O at Liverpool and any potential Ireland to Mainland 'Bypass' Route. 

A somewhat out there prediction, but I reckon P&O will transfer tonnage to Cairnryan and Stena will then purchase the European sisters for use on the Dublin run. 
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Post by vikingvoyager »

fiobhaniar wrote: 04 Sep 2023 13:25
BenMyChree wrote: 22 Aug 2023 07:34

European Causeway & European Highlander are cited as having 331 Berths. 

And, if fitted with a Stena Nordica style accommodation extension could revitalise P&O at Liverpool and any potential Ireland to Mainland 'Bypass' Route. 

A somewhat out there prediction, but I reckon P&O will transfer tonnage to Cairnryan and Stena will then purchase the European sisters for use on the Dublin run. 

Can't see that happening myself, I think that if it did, they might as well just sell both routes.
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