French ferry operator Brittany Ferries has announced that two new ships are to join their fleet to serve its routes between the UK and Spain.
The ships are expected to be launched by 2021 and will be built at the AVIC International Weihai shipyard in China. They will be chartered from Swedish operator, Stena RoRo.
Brittany Ferries have announced the vessels are required to meet ‘ever-increasing demand for long-haul ferry travel’.
The ferries are 250m long and 27.8m wide making them the company’s longest vessels.
The move is part of a five-year modernisation plan of the Brittany Ferries’ fleet, which is estimated to cost in excess of £400m.
Works began earlier this year on a new LNG cruise ferry, the Honfleur, which is set to serve the Portsmouth - Caen route from 2019.
Both the Honfleur and the two new ships are due to sail under the French flag and will be subject to French crewing requirements.
According to Brittany Ferries’ president Jean-Marc Roué:
"Spain is by far the most popular foreign destination for UK holidaymakers, and we have seen significant growth in demand. Post-Brexit, we expect this to continue and today’s announcement is a clear statement of intent. As well as passenger traffic, we believe that an increase in freight capacity will open the door to more hauliers seeking direct access between Britain and the Iberian Peninsula."
In 2017, the company operated 844 sailings on routed between the UK and Spain, increasing almost 80% since 2000.