Short sea operator Transfennica is starting a twice-weekly direct call to Portsmouth from Bilbao this month. Beginning on May 13, the service will give customers, including those in the automotive industry, a direct connection and fast transit times from Spain to the UK, according to the company.

Tuesday and Friday evening sailings from the northern Spanish port will call at Portsmouth, on the UK’s southern coast, on Thursday and Sunday.

The service will then call at the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium.

Transfennica said that the service would allow customers to ship Thursday and Friday collections during the weekend, and to deliver all over the UK by Sunday evening/Monday morning.

“We believe the market is ready for an unaccompanied solution connecting Spain, the UK and Belgium,” said Eric de Wit, director of Transfennica. “This will allow transport companies to efficiently use their own trucks in the UK and use the Portsmouth to Zeebrugge sailing to balance their cargo flows. The availability of other sailings, both in Portsmouth as well as in Zeebrugge, increases flexibility and efficiency. We are confident that we are introducing a service that the market needs.”

The service will move truck and containerised freight but is also suited for high and heavy, mafi and project cargo.

Transfennica is already supporting parts shipments for Toyota between its European parts hub in Diest, Belgium and its parts distribution centre in Illescas, near Madrid in Spain.

The company also recently increased capacity on its Zeebrugge to Bilbao service by putting larger vessels into service and operating two sailings per week in each direction.