Red Funnel has today (Wednesday) placed an order for a brand new, £10million freight ferry to serve it’s Southampton to East Cowes service.

The 74-metre-long vessel will enter service in Spring 2019 and will be built here in the United Kingdom at Cammell Laird’s shipyard in Birkenhead, near Warrington.

The currently un-named ferry will provide 265 lane metres of roll-on/roll-off freight capacity which is enough for 12 artics. She will carry up to 12 passengers.

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The introduction of a dedicated freight ferry will mean that those traveling to and from the Isle of Wight will have more space on board their selected crossing with the removal of freight lorries – which are vital to Island lfie.

The crossing time of 55-60 minutes will be identical to Red Funnel’s existing Raptor class ro-pax ships and she will use the same berths in Southampton and East Cowes.

Kevin George, CEO of Red Funnel and Chairman of the group has said:

“We are the number one operator for cross-Solent freight and this new ship will provide more early morning capacity on weekdays and more freight-only sailings between October and March each year. After a competitive tender, we are delighted to place our third new-build in succession with a UK yard. The order will help sustain marine manufacturing in the UK and will bring benefits to the economy of the North West and also to the Isle of Wight once she enters service.”

The news has been welcomed by Business Secretary Greg Clark MP, who has said:

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“This is another vote of confidence in British shipbuilding and the excellence of our marine manufacturing sector, which we want to build on as part of our Industrial Strategy. Red Funnel continues to grow with this new investment in high quality UK manufacturing. This announcement is great news for the skilled workers at Red Funnel and Cammell Laird, and the local economies of Merseyside and the Isle of Wight.”

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