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Port of Dover Eastern Docks scaled


Port of Dover comments on a successful Easter Getaway campaign


  • Port sees a 15% uplift in passenger numbers from Easter 2023
  • Plans implemented for the Summer 2023, continue to provide a successful operation.

The popular Easter getaway came to a successful end this weekend, with families all over the country returning from their breaks and children heading back to school – much to the delight of some parents!

Thousands of these families chose to use the Port of Dover as the start of their trips, in search of warmer days to spend time together for some well-deserved relaxation.

During the Easter holiday period*, the Port of Dover processed:

  • 284,663 passengers (vs 243,560 in 2023)
  • 46,225 cars (vs 37,970)
  • 2,251 coaches (vs 2,191)
  • 50, 597 freight vehicles (vs 42,561)

These increases in passenger, coach and freight traffic numbers from 2023, show continued support for the port’s position as Britain’s premier trade and travel gateway to the continent.
Holidaymakers and businesses opt for the country’s shortest sea crossing from Dover to France, having the choice of three operators and the unrivalled flexibility and ease of 130 daily ferry crossings.

Commenting on the successful operation of the Easter Getaway, the Port of Dover’s Chief Executive, Doug Bannister, said:

“The Port community maintains its commitment to ensuring our customers have a smooth journey through the port, along with minimal disruption to local residents and businesses.

The comprehensive planning that took place for months ahead of the Easter Getaway was conducted with our operational partners and had anticipated waiting times of up to 2.5 hours, before border controls in the Port at the very busiest of times.

The maximum dwell time reached only on the key Easter bank holiday weekend was in fact 2 hours during a 4-hour period from mid-morning on Friday 29th March. And this was due to the unavoidable high winds brought by Storm Nelson, which affected port operations.

Despite the anticipated dwell time due to the high volume of traffic using the Port of Dover at key times, it remains evident that the public’s trust in ferry travel remains high.  

We continue to work closely with our ferry partners to ensure we can offer flexibility to passengers. For example, if you are unfortunate enough to miss your ferry sailing, you will be accommodated on the next available crossing (which is usually within an hour) at no extra cost.”

Karen Baurdoux, Channel Passenger Director at DFDS, said:

“Our colleagues onboard and ashore have been looking forward to welcoming our customers onboard our Dover-Dunkerque and Dover-Calais route over the Easter holidays. We are delighted to have welcomed both repeat and new customers onboard our 6 vessels. We are grateful for the good collaboration with our partners in the ports and our continued collective focus on the customer journey”.

Louisa Bell, Passenger Managing Director at P&O Ferries, said:

As the largest operator on the Dover-Calais route, we are delighted to have played a key role in helping tens of thousands of people enjoy their Easter break. With our new hybrid fusion-class ships, P&O Pioneer and P&O Liberté, we look forward to continuing our work with the Port of Dover – serving our customers along this vital route for years to come.

Nora Costello, Consumer Sales & Marketing Director at Irish Ferries, said:

“We are delighted to have welcomed so many passengers and groups on our Dover-Calais service, benefiting from both our great value fares and easy access to France for their Easter break.”

Abby Penlington, Director at Discover Ferries, commented:

“Discover Ferries is thrilled that over 280,000 passengers passed through the Port of Dover this Easter, experiencing the advantages and value of travelling by ferry. With no restrictions on baggage or limits on liquids in hand luggage, passengers will have made the most of duty-free shopping and ferried countless Easter eggs across the Channel too!”.

Phil Smith, UK Coach Manager at Confederation of Passenger Transport UK said:

“The Confederation of Passenger Transport was satisfied that the dedicated arrangements for coaches that were implemented by the Port of Dover over the Easter Holiday period to ensure that any delays for coaches and coach passengers were minimal when making international journeys by sea were effective”.

The intensive preparations of port staff and ferry operators enabled thousands of travellers to take day trips and longer breaks over the holidays, choosing the relaxing and convenient experience that ferry travel offers.


Notes to Editors

For further information or images, contact or +44 (0) 1304 240400 Ext. 4410. 

  • The Port of Dover is closing the gap every day between the UK and the world by connecting trade, travel, visitors and communities locally-globally, collaborating with local and international partners to create a more seamless, sustainable and tech-enabled port.
  • As the UK’s busiest international ferry port and a vital gateway for the movement of people and trade, Dover handles £144 billion of trade per year, 33% of UK trade in goods with the EU and welcomes over 11 million passengers.
  • Dover is an award-winning cruise port, delivering world class travel and visitor experiences to over 20 different cruise lines each year. With a growing and diversifying cargo business operating from state-of-the-art facilities, a new marina which is at the centre of the revived waterfront, plus opportunities for further expansion in the future, Dover’s proud history dating back 400 years has a new modern twist.