Ferry passengers numbers rise after Brexit vote

Ferry passengers numbers rise after Brexit vote

The Brexit vote has not deterred travellers from taking their cars on holiday by ferry, new figures reveal.

The number of cars taken on ferries in July increased by 4% to 1.14 million from 1.10 million in the same month last year.

Trade body Discover Ferries confirmed that the total number of cars taken on ferry trips between the UK and the continent increased from 525,000 to 540,000 in July – a 2.9% increase.

Ferry firm members of the organisation have seen annual increases in the number of people taking holidays by car for the past three years - up from 8.37 million in 2013, to 8.61 million in 2015.

The most popular destination by ferry or train in 2015 was France (54%) followed by Belgium (13%), Netherlands (9%) and Germany (8%).

Car carryings to the continent were up across all sectors in July year-on-year with:

• Cars on short sea routes out of Dover to Calais and Dunkirk up by 2.1%
• Cars on the western Channel from Newhaven, Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth to France and Spain up 5.1%
• Car carryings on the North Sea from Harwich, Hull and Newcastle to Holland and Belgium were up 1.9%

Cars on ferry routes between the UK and Ireland also increased from 154,000 to 157,000 a 1.5% increase.

There was also big growth in people taking their cars on holiday to English and Scottish islands such as the Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, and western Scottish islands. Overall the car carryings for July on domestic routes were up by 6.5% from 416,000 to 442,000.

Discover Ferries director, Bill Gibbons, said: “The signs are strong that 2016 will continue to see an increase in the number of people taking their car on holiday by sea as more people decide to avoid the hassle of airports and embrace the convenience and flexibility of taking their own road trip instead.

“Our figures show we’ve already seen car carryings increase by 2.6% this year – up from 4.72 million to 4.84 million.

“But we were very pleased to see such a strong performance in July - the first month after Brexit when the number of cars on our ferry members increased from 1.10 to 1.14 million – a 4% year-on-year increase.”

He added: “All the signs from our ferry operators are that the sunny weather is encouraging more holidaymakers to get out and about in their cars on holiday and day trips.

“Ferry travel is operating normally on all routes and also won’t be affected by the proposed Eurostar strikes later this month.”

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