ferry wide load

Abnormal Loads on Ferries - The Facts

The width, height and weight of your freight vehicle are very important when booking a ferry. Vehicles that exceed the norm are classed as abnormal loads. Not only will it influence which ferry you can board, but also how the ferry is loaded to ensure the ferry leaves on time with minimal disruption.

Unfortunately, not every ferry operator shares the maximum dimensions and weights accepted. The maximum also varies depending on which route you take.

However, we've managed to collate some of the more common routes, which will give you a good idea of whether your load is acceptable.

P&O Ferries

P&O provides the maximum width, heights and weights for all of their routes.

Route Max. Width Max. Height Max. Weight
Dover-Calais 6.70 m 4.80 m 44 ton (72 ton special arrangement)
Hull-Rotterdam 6.00 m 7.00 m 170 ton
Hull-Zeebrugge 6.00 m 4.40 m 170 ton
Teesport-Rotterdam 6.00 m 6.90 m 170 ton
Teesport-Zeebrugge 6.00 m 7.00 m 170 ton
Tilbury-Zeebrugge 6.00 m 6.00 m 80 ton (150-ton special arrangement)
Cairnryan-Larne 6.00 m 5.00 m 125 ton
Liverpool-Dublin 5.20 m 4.80 m 160 ton

Loads wider than 2.5m incur additional charges. P&O Irish Sea and North Sea routes with loads wider than 3m and heavier than stated require special arrangement.

DFDS Seaways

DFDS has an excellent Route & Schedules section on its website, which provides everything you need to know about what freight vehicles are allowed on each DFDS route. Maximum width, height and weights for two of their most popular routes are as follows

Route Max. Width Max. Height Max. Length Max. Weight
Dover-Dunkerque 3.2 m 4.45 m 22 m 44 ton
Dover-Calais 5.0 m 4.4 m 26 m 24 ton

Abnormal loads can be shipped.

Stena Line

Unfortunately, Stena Line doesn't provide maximum width, height and weight limits for loads on their routes. They do however provide some clearance dimensions on their website ships page.


Max. Width Max. Height Max. Length Max. Weight
2.6 m 4.2 m 19.4 m 44 ton

Unfortunately, abnormal loads cannot be transported on a Eurotunnel freight shuttle.

Superfast Ferries

Max. Width Max. Height Max. Weight
2.5 - 5 m (depending on vehicle manoeuvrability) 4.7 m 15 ton / axle

Abnormal loads can be shipped.

Unity Lines

Max. Width Max. length Max. Weight
2.6 m 24 m 7 ton/axle (1.3 m or less between axles)
10 ton/axle (more than 1.3 m between axles)

Abnormal loads can be shipped at a special rate.

Brittany Ferries

There are different maximum width and heights for every ship in Brittany Ferries' fleet with maximum heights ranging from 4.30 - 5.20 m and widths of 4.40 - 6.80 m.

Theoretically, Brittany Ferries can take up to 180 tonnes, however, there is a surcharge on anything over 75 tonnes (50 tonnes on their Spanish routes). Certain ships are excluded from this.

Abnormal loads can be shipped at a special rate, however, an abnormal load form with any diagrams or drawings can be completed prior to shipping. Contact our Abnormal Loads team for more information.

Don't be put off!

However abnormal your load may seem, we are sure we can sort out a ferry for you. We specialise in the movement of vehicles and loads like this. We have transported all sorts of weird and wonderful vehicles, so don't be put off giving us a call and finding out. Speak to your account manager and they'll be happy to help.

A recent example of what we're able to pull off is transporting a specialist haulage company's huge tilting trailer. If anything is the definition of an abnormal load, it's that!

Most operators will be able to make some accommodation for a vehicle that is out of the ordinary, however it is very important that you provide us with accurate dimensions so that we can ensure you are accommodated for and to avoid you being refused shipment.

Find out more about our Abnormal, Wide or Heavy Loads service and we will happily arrange these bookings for you.

14 October 2020

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