P&O Ferries has strengthened its freight operations on the Calais-Dover crossing to maintain the flow of goods during the COVID-19 crisis.

The company's workforce in the Port of Calais are taking on new roles in freight handling to keep food, medicines and other goods flowing.

The check-in and loading process has also been modified to avoid direct contact and cleaning protocols have been intensified on ships, which have switched from air-conditioning to fresh air.

P&O Ferries chief executive Janette Bell said: “P&O Ferries is doing vital work to ensure the supplies of food, medicines and other supplies to millions of people. In the average week we transport 25,000 loads of freight between France and Britain.

"The Calais-Dover crossing is also critical to the economy of France, as well as the UK, Ireland and the wider European Union. I want to thank every single member of the P&O Ferries team, especially our colleagues in Calais who are keeping the flow of goods moving through this crisis. The well-being of millions of people depends on them.

"I urge all governments to back the commitment of our colleagues by designating port workers as key workers to secure further the flow of goods.”