RoRo ferry

Is Unaccompanied Freight Right for Your Business?

One of the most popular freight ferry services we offer is the booking of unaccompanied freight, which is proving to be a continually beneficial method of transporting goods for a number of reasons. As much as 71% of Irish Sea ferry freight is moved unaccompanied.

What is Unaccompanied Freight?

Unaccompanied freight is the transport of wheeled freight without the driver and cab. Essentially, the freight vehicle is left at the quay side at the port by a driver (detached from the cab) and a tug master (small tractor) pulls the vehicle on and off the ship.

Although most unaccompanied freight consists of trailers, a variety of vehicles can be transported unaccompanied including -

  • Mobile homes
  • Tractors
  • Trade cars
  • Combine harvesters
  • Fork lift trucks
  • Plant machinery

And many more. As long as the vehicle can be towed and has rubber tyres, it can probably be loaded onto a suitable ferry.

What are the Benefits?

There are many reasons to use an unaccompanied freight service. These include -

  • Cost - it can be considerably cheaper to drop a trailer, tractor etc off at a port with one driver and collected at the destination port by another. Not only are you saving money by not transporting the driver, it also means the same the driver can complete more jobs
  • Space - why fill a trailer with one item (a forklift truck, for instance) when you can just drop the forklift truck off and put it on the ferry. It will probably do the ferry operator a favour too by filling an awkward space
  • Use off peak sailings - time and cost savings can be had by just transporting a trailer at off peak sailing times, without the additional cost and potential delays at peak time
  • Be green - meet your CSRs and climate related obligations by minimising the amount of time your drivers are on the road
  • Driver availability - drivers are becoming harder to find and wages are increasing. By using an unaccompanied service you can get more use out of your employees
  • Only option - due to the size and shape of the vehicle you are moving, this may be your only option. Luckily, it's a great, efficient option used by many companies on a daily basis

"It was my first time using Freightlink. I was sending a unaccompanied trailer and boat to Holyhead. It was so straightforward. I had a question, rang the phone number and the lady on the other end was so helpful. A real positive experience. Will definitely recommend to others." Eamon

Things You Need to be Aware of

Like any service, there are important things you need to be aware of -

  • Unaccompanied freight requires a driver at both ports - ensure you have adequate partnerships in place to provide consistent freight movement
  • Damage does happen - Although ferry operators will make sure that your freight is kept safe and secure, accidents can happen - especially in rough weather. Make sure your unaccompanied vehicle/trailer is adequately insured
  • All unaccompanied trailers must have lashing rings and trestle points to be safely secured to the ferry

Many ferry operators provide an unaccompanied service, including CLdN RoRo (Seatruck Ferries) on the Irish Sea and DFDS on the North Sea. To see whether this service is right for you, speak to our sales team.

01 March 2024

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