P&O Ferries has said it will be increasing its service from Dover to Calais in response to yesterday’s fire on a Eurotunnel Shuttle carrying trucks.
The ferry company is upping its freight only service from two to five return trips a day, which will run in addition to five multipurpose ferries capable of carrying 100 freight units each.
Michelle Ulyatt of P&O Ferries said: “We are doing everything we can to clear the backlog of freight, as well as maximising service for our passengers.”
The Port of Dover said in the first 12 hours since the fire broke out it had handled nearly 1,000 more vehicles than normal, including an additional 250 freight vehicles.
The fire broke out yesterday afternoon at 3pm in the north tunnel on a train travelling from England to France approximately 11km from the French tunnel exit. Thirty-two people were on board the train, but all were evacuated unharmed. It has been suggested that the fire was caused by a truck breaking system overheating.
The Channel Tunnel comprises three tunnels in total – two for rail traffic and one for maintenance and evacuation.
The company said the south tunnel was not affected by the incident, but it will have to undergo a “detailed inspection” before being brought back into service.
Jacque Gounon, chairman and chief executive of Eurotunnel, said: “Eurotunnel is conscious of the disruption caused by this situation and will do all it can to restore the best possible service as soon as this can be done.”