A key transit point for the UK, the Calais area has taken advantage of its location by developing a high-performance and complementary transport infrastructure network which offers unequalled accessibility with regard to the British and Northern European markets.
France’s leading port for cross-Channel goods traffic
Close to a third of the goods traffic between continental Europe and England is handled by the port of Calais. If you combine both freight and passenger traffic, Calais is continental Europe’s leading port in terms of links with Great Britain, offering the most numerous and quickest ferry services (just 75min) between the continent and the south coast of England. Around fifty services operated by different ferry companies serve the Calais-Dover route daily, with departures running almost continuously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 364 days a year.
Alongside its cross-Channel operations, Calais’ commercial port also handles a variety of operations for local industries (minerals, sands, rocks etc), in particular the loading of underwater cables on board specialist ships for the company Alcatel Lucent Submarines Networks SAS. The port also handles the transport of new vehicles exported to England by the PSA group.
An extensive and highly competitive high-speed rail network
Working alongside the port of Calais’ cross-Channel activities, the Channel Tunnel connects Great Britain with continental Europe via a unique goods and passenger service involving transport via a train shuttle system. The Eurotunnel group, the company operating the Channel Tunnel, has fast established itself as the world’s leading piggyback transport company and regularly beats records for traffic on what is one of Europe’s busiest train lines. In addition, the frequency of its services can be adjusted upwards in line with an increase in traffic – these services are also the shortest and quickest route across the Channel: 90min from motorway to motorway for trucks and 35min for cars. Like the port of Calais, the Chunnel operates non-stop, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Thanks to these high speed train and Eurostar services, three European capitals are easily accessible on a daily basis from the Calais-Frethun international rail terminal:
- Brussels (1hr)
- London (55min)
- Paris (1hr 30min)
The area is also just half an hour via TERGV high-speed train from the city of Lille.
At the junction of two motorways
Located on one of Europe’s main transport axis, the Calais area boasts two highly efficient motorways which serve all the business parks around the town, as well its major transport hubs: the port, Channel Tunnel and high speed train station.
- A16/E40 motorway from Calais to the Paris region, western France and Belgium
- 2hr from Brussels
- 3hr from Paris
- 2hr from Rouen
- A26/E15 motorway from Calais to the Paris region, eastern France and Reims
- 3hr from Paris
- 3hr from Reims
An airport for business and leisure travellers
The Calais area is also home to an international airport operating services for business and leisure travellers. Run by the Calais Urban Authority, it has two runways, 1,500m and 1,000m in length, and is able to offer a fast and flexible alternative for large companies looking to take advantage of air travel close to their business facilities.