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Immingham-bound: Tulipa Seaways sinks Brexit fears

A NEW era in DFDS' North Sea operations between Immingham and Holland has been marked with the naming of the second of two freight superferries to enter service this year.

Immingham-bound: Tulipa Seaways sinks Brexit fears

It is seen as a strong message as Brexit negotiations are about to begin, a major investment underlining the trading strength between the European hub and the UK.

Tulipa Seaways was the centre of attention at a special ceremony in the Flensburg Shipyard, northern Germany, with the wife of former DFDS chairman Tutte Østergaard performing the honour.

The 210-metre long vessel will sail between the Humber's biggest port and Rotterdam, with sister vessel Gardenia Seaways entering service later this month. Tulipa is expected to join in autumn.

"In spite of Brexit, we still see freight volumes on our North Sea routes growing and are confident that these new ships will offer the capacity, reliability and a significantly improved quality of service which our customers will appreciate," Niels Smedegaard, DFDS's chief executive, said.

"The two new buildings represent the first step in an ambitious new building programme that will add considerable capacity to our North Sea network over the next few years."

The ship design meets current environmental requirements, reducing fuel consumption and providing much better handling during loading and unloading in port.

Tulipa was launched at the ceremony and moved to the quayside, where superstructure, consisting of the bridge and accommodation facilities, will be added.

Both vessels will be able to carry 262 trailers with a load space of 4,076 lane metres.

DFDS is taking both vessels under a bareboat charter contract.

Allan Hull, DFDS' Immingham-based UK agency director, said: "Rotterdam is a strong route for us. We have seen a lot of growth on that service for the last few years. We are currently running four vessels on there, and with Gardenia and Tulipa offering such capacity, we can serve it with three, which from our point of view is more efficient, without losing any capacity."

Last month DFDS, which has its biggest operational base in North East Lincolnshire, made an £18.6 million investment in vital equipment to serve road and sea freight, with more than 1,000 new cargo-carrying units – trailers and containers – entered into the fleet, the largest spending spree of its type ever completed.

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