The news of P&O’s decision to suspend passenger services comes from the shipping trade journal Flows and has been reported in the British media.
P&O’s CEO Janette Bell told the British newspaper ‘The Daily Telegraph’ that "Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 there are very few passengers travelling and we are unable to maintain our normal operations”.
"This is why P&O Ferries is suspending its passenger services and we will be concentrating all our efforts on maintaining freight traffic to the United Kingdom”.
The decision means that 1,100 P&O employees are being laid off. The UK government will pay them 80% of their normal wages with P&O making up the remaining 20%.
The company says that it sails 27,000 times a year between the British Isles and Belgium, France and The Netherlands. Its 22 ships carry 8.4 million passengers and 2.3 million consignments of freight (mainly on the back of lorries) annually.