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Disparity of ferry crossing cost explained

I AM responding to your correspondent's query (Write Back, May 20) about the disparity of prices between P&O Ferries' Larne-Cairnryan route and our Dover-Calais route. There are three main reasons.

Economies of scale: We currently run up to 25 round trips a day for passengers Dover-Calais and up to seven round trips per day Larne-Cairnryan.

In 2011, Dover-Calais carried 1.067m freight units and 7.608m passengers, compared to the Larne-Cairnryan, which carried 236,837 freight units and 629,064 passengers.

This means that the fixed costs for P&O Ferries to operate between the ports of Dover and Calais can be spread across a higher number of crossings and customers, making it possible to offer lower prices on this route.

Fuel: The fuel consumed per crossing is considerably less on Dover-Calais route than Larne-Cairnryan. With fuel representing an increasing proportion of our operating costs, this is a significant factor.

Onboard spend: This additional revenue on Dover-Calais can make it possible to offer lower fares, particularly at low demand times, because these fares can be commercially viable due to the money the passenger spends onboard.

For this reason, there are many promotional, non-landing, shopping trips on Dover-Calais.


P&O Ferries

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