Ferry operator Red Funnel has placed an order with UK-based shipbuilder Cammell Laird for a new RoRo freight ferry to serve its Southampton-East Cowes route across the Solent.

The ship is slated to be built with an investment of £10m and is anticipated to offer year-round services once launched.

The 74m-long, 17m-wide ferry is set to be equipped with 265 lane metres of roll-on / roll-off freight capacity and will be able to accommodate up to 12 passengers.

"The order will help sustain marine manufacturing in the UK and will bring benefits to the economy of the North West."

Its hull shape has been specifically designed to reduce wash and a propulsion package has been selected for integration on-board the ship to ensure high fuel-efficiency.

In addition, the ferry will be built to comply with the latest Tier III emission regulations and will be equipped with Rolls-Royce azimuth thrusters to increase manoeuvrability.

The vessel is expected to require a total of 55 to 60 minutes to travel between Southampton and East Cowes.

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By GlobalData

It is scheduled to be built at Cammell Laird’s yard in Birkenhead, England, for delivery next year.

Red Funnel chairman and CEO Kevin George said: “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.”

Red Funnel plans to offer increased early morning capacity on weekdays following the new ferry’s launch, as well as more freight-only sailings between October and March every year.