AN MP has welcomed news that a popular ferry route has been saved from decommissioning.

Lewes and Polegate MP Maria Caulfield expressed her delight that the future of the Newhaven to Dieppe ferry had been secured.

The port is one of eight in the country to receive a government freight contract aimed at increasing the country’s import and export capacity during the Brexit transition period.

Newhaven received part of the £77.6 million national contracts, securing the ferry to Dieppe for future use.

The contracts with Brittany Ferries, DFDS, P&O and Stena, will focus on nine routes serving eight ports in areas less likely to experience disruption. These include Felixstowe, Harwich, Hull, Newhaven, Poole, Portsmouth, Teesport and Tilbury.

The Conservative MP said the investment has the potential to bring more jobs to the port.

She said: “This is great news for Newhaven and secures the future of the ferry. It will potentially bring more jobs to the port and will have a huge economic impact on the rest of the town. I am pleased that the government has listened to me and seen the potential in Newhaven.”

It comes as Kasper Moos, head of short routes and passenger for DFDS which runs the Newhaven to Dieppe ferry, predicted the pandemic would spark a boom in no-fly holidays in August.

Mr Moos said: “Passengers are rediscovering ferry travel as a safe way to start their holidays and to reach a host of great destinations on the near Continent and further afield. A few weeks on from the UK government’s decision to lift its quarantine, bookings on our ferry services are starting to build.

“We're at 35 to 40 per cent of our usual volumes for the summer peak on our routes between the UK and France.

“A key part of the unique appeal of ferry travel is our ability to offer access to plenty of space, fantastic onboard cafes and restaurants and access to outside decks offering sea views and a fresh sea breeze all as part of the journey. Passengers on our ferry services enjoy a relaxing start to their holiday.

“We hope that changing consumer behaviour after the pandemic will see a real renaissance in ferry travel, which has come a long way since the booze cruises and cut-price offers of the 1990s.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said “As the transition period comes to an end, we are putting the necessary measures in place to safeguard the smooth and successful flow of freight.

“Securing these contracts ensures that irrespective of the outcome of the negotiations, lifesaving medical supplies and other critical goods can continue to enter the UK from the moment we leave the EU.”