Irish Ferries is to start operating services between Dover and Calais for the first time in summer 2021.
The operator, part of Irish Continental Group, is planning to transfer its Isle of Inishmore ferry on to the busy cross-Channel route where it will compete with existing firms P&O Ferries and DFDS.
Services are due to begin in June 2021 with Irish Ferries planning to add more capacity on the Dover-Calais route in the “coming months”.
“We are very excited about launching our services on the best short sea ferry market in the world and we believe we can bring more choice for customers in the years ahead,” said Irish Ferries.
“The initial level of passenger services offered will be dependent on the easing of Covid-19 travel restrictions.”
Doug Bannister, Port of Dover’s chief executive, added: “We are delighted to welcome Irish Ferries to Dover. This announcement gives the millions of customers across the UK and the Republic of Ireland who value the intrinsic benefits of the shortest sea crossing to Europe, the prospect of even more choice.”
Irish Ferries is also adding a new ship, Blue Star 1, to its fleet which will sail on the Rosslare to Pembroke route.