Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What is the difference between a freight and passenger booking?
A1. Generally if you are travelling for commercial purposes or carrying commercial goods, your vehicle must travel as freight. Please note: ferry operators periodically carry out spot checks at the port, on arrival. If you have booked on a passenger ticket and they consider it to be freight, you will be asked to pay the difference in fare between the passenger and freight ticket, which could be considerably more.
Q2. What if I miss my sailing?
A2. Whenever possible, please contact us. We can provide you with information and alternative sailings. Freight sailings can often be waitlisted, therefore it is important to let us know if you are not going to utilise your sailing. This is classed as a "no-show" and although unusual, some operators will charge.
Q3. Can I book an unaccompanied vehicle?
A3. Yes, most operators will accept unaccompanied vehicles, whether a car, plant/machinery or unaccompanied trailers.
Q4. What is an abnormal load?
A4. Operators dimensions can vary on abnormal loads however generally a vehicle which exceeds the following dimensions will be classed as an abnormal load:
- Height: 4 metres
- Width: 2.5 metres
- Length: 16.5 metres (unless a road train which is 18 metres)
- Weight: 45 tonne
Depending on the size/weight of the vehicle the ferry operator may require completion of an abnormal load approval form and port authorisation may be required.
Q5. What do I need to do if I am carrying hazardous goods?
A5. AFerryFreight can assist you with the shipment of hazardous goods. All Ferry Operators must conform to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code. Only certain types of hazardous goods can be carried on passenger vessels, for all other types you will need to either book on a sailing with restricted passenger numbers or we can advise you on the freight only sailings which are currently available.
For all hazardous shipments we will require a completed, legible, Dangerous Goods Note, 24 hours and in some cases 48 hours, prior to shipment. In order for us to check whether goods can be shipped on your preferred route, please provide the following details:
- UN Code
- Packing Group
A copy of the DGN can be faxed to us on 01235 844102
Q6. What do I need to do if I intend carrying chilled goods?
A6. If you have a refrigerated unit and require a plug in this can be arranged easily for you, a charge may apply depending on the operator/route, although most operators do provide this free of charge.
Q7. Can I ship livestock?
A7. Although we cannot book commercial livestock we can assist you with the shipment of domestic animals and horses. This is dependent on the length of the crossing and weather conditions ensuring that the animal's welfare is the main priority.
Ferry operators work very closely with DEFRA to ensure all guidelines are met and will require all necessary paperwork, for further information please visit - http://ww2.defra.gov.uk. There may be a charge for carrying your animal, if you wish to check a particular operator please visit our ferry operators page where this information is provided.
8. Do I have to pay VAT?
A8. AFerryFreight is a VAT registered company. For UK based companies, the current level of VAT will be charged. If your company is registered outside the UK and providing we have confirmation of your VAT number, this will be zero rated.
9. Will the booking cost fluctuate?
A9. Ordinarily rates are negotiated annually; they are usually valid from January to December. If at any time an operator introduces a special offer this will be passed on to our customers. Our current special offers can be found on our home page. Please remember that most operators do apply a fuel surcharge which does fluctuate depending on the current cost of fuel, these are generally adjusted on a monthly basis.
10. Do I have to pay for an additional driver?
A10. This depends on the operator; some include 1, whereas others include 2 drivers. If you wish to check a particular operator please visit our ferry operators' pages where this information is provided.
11. Is a berth and meal included in the price?
A11. This is depends on the operator and the duration of the crossing. For longer or overnight crossings a berth in a shared 2 or 4 berth cabin is generally included in the price. For short sea crossings a berth is not offered but you will have a dedicated freight rest area. If a meal is not included, these will usually be offered on a discounted basis. If you wish to check a particular operator please visit our ferry operators' pages where this information is provided.
12. Do you offer discounts if I book regularly?
A12. At AFerryFreight we continually negotiate rates with our ferry operators to pass on the best prices to our customers. You may be interested in talking to our sales team about opening a freight account.
13. Which vehicle type do I select and are there restrictions on my driving licence?
A13. It is important that the correct vehicle type is selected as providing the incorrect information could mean that you are either overpaying or underpaying. If the incorrect vehicle is selected you may end up being stopped at the port. The information below will assist you with your selection:
Vans: Enclosed, box-like motor vehicle with rear and/or side doors and side panels. Vans vary in length; a short wheel base is not usually much longer than a standard car, whilst a long wheel base or extra-long wheel base can be up to 7m long, e.g. a Mercedes Sprinter. The maximum laden (loaded) weight for larger vans is 3.5 tonne; this is the total weight of the van and its contents. Vans up to 3.5 tonne can be driven with a standard UK car licence.
Rigid/Truck: Any vehicle with a rigid cargo body fixed to the drivers cab (in the case of a luton style truck the fixed body extends over the cab). They generally have a bigger, more flexible load space than a van and have the option of a tail lift. Rigids/trucks are usually up to 7.5 tonne; to drive a vehicle with a maximum laden weight of over 3.5 tonne you must have Category C1 on your driving licence.
Artics:An articulated lorry consists of two sections, the front section known as the tractor unit and the rear section known as the trailer. An articulated lorry has a permanent or semi-permanent pivoting joint called a kingpin; the kingpin allows the vehicle to manoeuvre much more easily, especially around corners. A standard artic is generally up to 4m high, 2.5m wide and up to 16.5m long, if the vehicle is wider this is generally classed as an abnormal load and different rates will apply. A rigid truck with a trailer is known as a road train and is generally up to 18m long.
Trailers: A trailer (the rear part of an artic) can be shipped as an unaccompanied unit. A standard unaccompanied trailer is approx. 13 -13.6m long. The driver drops the unit on the quay side at the port and the ferry operator organises the loading and the unloading of the trailer. This procedure is carried out using a tug master which is a small tractor capable of pulling trailers on and off ships. This can be a more efficient option making both the drivers and the tractor units available for continuous work.
As well as trailers we can also provide quotes and bookings for other unaccompanied vehicle types.
14. How do I make a booking?
A14. Online is the most convenient way to make your booking, you are able to choose a country or route and it will give you comparisons, therefore choosing the route which best fits your requirements.
15. Can I quote, and then book later?
A15. You can quote online, and you have the facility to be able to email yourself the quote and then book within 24 hours, the rate will remain the same.
Check In Questions
16. What time do I need to check in?
A16. As a rule, we advise to check in at least 90 minutes prior to departure for accompanied vehicles. For unaccompanied vehicles this will vary, however at least 2 hours prior to departure unless otherwise indicated, and check the port opening hours. Your booking confirmation will confirm this.
17. Where do I need to go?
A17. You will need to go the freight check in booths at the port of departure. The port address can be found on our port pages.
18. Which credit and debit cards do you accept?
A18. We accept Visa debit/credit/Electron, Mastercard debit/credit and Switch - we do not accept American Express or Solo.
19. Is there a charge for using credit/debit cards?
A19. This depends on the type of card you use. There is no extra charge if you use Visa Electron, Mastercard Debit, Visa Debit or Maestro, whereas with Mastercard and Visa Credit you are charged 2.5% of the value of your booking.
20. Do you accept other types of payment or can I pay at the port?
A20. Full payment is required at the time of booking, it is therefore not possible to pay at the port. All online bookings must be paid using either a debit or credit card. In some cases it may be possible to arrange a bank transfer, please contact us for further details.