Freight services

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Dependable, cost-effective and flexible - just some of the reasons why our multi-award winning service is No.1 for freight across the Solent.


Cross-Solent travel

Here are just a few of the reasons why we are No.1 for freight: 

  • Southampton <> East Cowes, gateway to the Island's commercial corridor
  • Ports served by good road connections
  • Largest cross-Solent ferries, identical design with no centre casing means easy loading and disembarkation
  • Can accommodate vehicles/loads up to: 4.9m (16ft) Height, 29m (95ft) Length & 4.3m (14ft) Width. Note, all loads exceeding 20m in length nust have full rear-wheel steering
  • No weight restrictions up to 44 tonnes
  • Drop trailer service with dedicated tug fleet at Southampton & East Cowes
  • 365 days a year service with 24/7 timetable
  • Unmatched service reliability & punctuality, even in bad weather!
  • Dedicated hazardous sailings and DG advice team
  • Unaccompanied shipment of trade vehicles
  • Highly competitive rates
  • Discounted hot/cold meals & drinks for freight drivers
  • Friendly and efficient account Management

How to book freight space?

Accompanied freight vehicles and large vans should be booked in advance to secure ferry space, for dedicated deliveries we can block-book any size of vehicle up to 12 months ahead.

Please ensure you know your account number (if applicable), the preferred travel dates and times, the vehicle weight/length and details of any dangerous goods that must be declared. Charges are based on the vehicles total length and generally not its weight or height.

Booking confirmations are sent via email and drivers are requested to quote their booking reference number on arrival at check-in - the vehicles length will be checked and additional charges may apply if the booked length is exceeded. Any statutory documentation will be completed at this stage.

To comply with The Merchant Shipping (Dangerous Goods And Marine Pollutants) Regulations 1990, Dangerous, Toxic and/or Hazardous Loads must be declared at the time of booking and on Consignment Notes completed at check-in. A Dangerous Goods.

Declaration Note must also be Completed Prior to Shipment. See the Dangerous Goods section for permitted DG classes.

Do you offer credit facilities?

A non-credit account will be created for customers when booking for the first time.

Credit accounts are available for businesses trading for at least 2 years who are intent on spending in excess of £2k per annum with Red Funnel. Other types of account are also available - please contact us for more information.

Frequently asked questions?

Q. Do I need to make a booking?
A. Yes, booking in advance is strongly recommended but it is possible to book on arrival, subject to availability of  freight space.

Q. What information is required to make a booking?
A. Outward & Return travel dates/times, total vehicle length (inc tractor unit if applicable), payload, details of any dangerous goods, credit account number & purchase order or debit/credit card details.

Q. Can freight be booked online?
A. Vans/commercial vehicles up to 8m in length and 4.9m in height can be booked online. To book larger freight vehicles or make a booking amendment/cancellation please give us a call.

Q. What time must I arrive for check-in?
A. 30-60 minutes before departure (not more than 60 minutes at peak times)

Q. Can trailers be shipped unaccompanied?
A. Yes, partners Steve Porter Transport operate a just-in-time drop-trailer delivery service to supermarkets etc. Trailers are also returned to Southampton in accordance with a pre-agreed schedule.

Q. Is it necessary to have an account?
A. No, customers with adhoc shipments can make and pay for bookings using a debit/credit card by calling the Freight Centre - there are no credit card surcharges. Credit account facilities are available for frequent customers.

Terms and Conditions

  • All amendments are free of charge, however a fare difference* may apply if you change your travel times.
  • Any fare difference must be paid for in full at time of amendment.
  • If you move to a cheaper sailing no refund will be due as you have reserved a space we can no longer guarantee re-selling.
  • If the booking is cancelled at least 48 hours before travel, then there is no charge and the full balance is refunded.
  • If the booking is cancelled between 24-48 hours before travel, a 25% cancellation fee is applied and the remaining balance is refunded.
  • If the booking is cancelled within 24 hours of travel, no refund is due.
  • Should your vehicle fall outside of the dimensions you have booked you will be required to pay the difference in fare and will not be guaranteed your space on the sailing

Dangerous Goods

Dangerous goods shipments should be declared at least 24 hours in advance. It’s a legal requirement for the haulier/shipper to advise Red Funnel Ferries of all Hazardous Goods/Marine pollutants being carried to and from the Isle of Wight.


Red Funnel is in a unique position in being able to offer clients a fully integrated transport service to and from the Isle of Wight, thanks to a close partnership with Steve Porter Transport Group (SPTG).

SPTG use Red Funnel's cross-Solent ferry services to offer a total business solution which is unmatched for cost-effectiveness, reliability and security.

  • Full loads, Groupage, and Warehousing
  • Modern and well maintained fleet of tractor units and trailers (including tautliners and flat bed units)
  • Competitive all-inclusive rates
  • Dedicated and professional service and support
  • Fully trained and experienced staff (including DG)
  • Largest transport operator on the Isle of Wight
  • Membership of RHA

Enquiries: 0845 680 2000 (Fax +44 (0)1983 299746)


logoSteve Porter Transport Group (SPTG), in partnership with Red Funnel, offer an integrated contract distribution service with the onward delivery of drop trailers from Southampton to any Isle of Wight destination. Empty or back loaded trailers are then returned to Southampton for client collection.

  • Trailers can be received, shipped and delivered at any time of day
  • All trailer movements are made in accordance to a pre-agreed schedule
  • Back-loads (ex Isle of Wight) can be accommodated
  • Secure trailer standing areas at the ferry terminals and in Newport, Isle of Wight
  • Modern tractor and tug units
  • Highly competitive rates
  • Professional service, highly trained staff and proven track record with both ambient and chilled goods
  • Major Blue chip clients
  • Unique service

Enquiries: 0845 680 2000 (Fax +44 (0)1983 299746)

The service is suitable for any firm looking to reduce costs by gainfully re-deploying drivers and tractor units on the mainland instead of making their own Island deliveries.

SPTG and Red Funnel offer both the flexibility of 'block' booked slots and the ability to cater for time sensitive ad-hoc shipments. Clients can simply drop trailers at our secure terminal in Southampton, complete the necessary paperwork, including any client invoked trailer checks, and leave the rest to us.

We offer a high level of service reliability making a complex just-in-time operation entirely feasible. For example, we can deliver to an Island store to meet a specific slot, unload caged goods, then load a refrigerated back load at another location and ship the unaccompanied trailer back to Southampton to meet incoming drivers and units.

For FMCG clients, Red Funnel terminal staff, shunters and SPTG drivers are fully trained in handling refrigerated trailers, temperature partitions, cages and tail lifts. We operate the largest vehicle ferries ever to serve the Isle of Wight with an unmatched record for service reliability and punctuality. 


Dangerous Goods

We have considerable experience in handling and shipping dangerous cargoes that are permitted on Passenger Vehicle Ferries.

  • We can legally transport by sea classes 1-9, subject to restrictions, and offer freight-only sailings for prohibited substances such as bulk petrol and propane.
  • Staff are experienced with the Regulations applying to the movement of dangerous goods by sea and fully qualified DGSA's are employed.
  • The ferry terminals are spacious with dedicated hard-standing for hazardous loads.

To ship dangerous goods by sea we need the following information 24hrs prior to shipment, as this needs to be declared to the Harbour Authorities and cleared for shipment.

  • UN Number
  • Class of Goods
  • Net Weight
  • Gross Weight
  • Type of Packaging + Packaging Group
  • Proper Shipping Name
  • Flashpoint (if applicable)

To comply with The Merchant Shipping (Dangerous Goods And Marine Pollutants) Regulations 1990, Dangerous, Toxic and/or Hazardous Loads must be declared at the time of booking and on Consignment Notes completed at check-in.

A Dangerous Goods Declaration Note must also be Completed Prior to Shipment.

How to contact us: 
Red Funnel Freight Team, Suite E (North), First Floor, The Columbine, Venture Quays, East Cowes, Isle of Wight PO32 6EZ.

Opening hours: 

Monday to Friday 0730 – 1700
Saturday 0700 – 1500
Sunday 0800 – 1200

Easter Opening hours:

Good Friday 0900 – 1500
Saturday 0800 – 1400
Easter Monday 0900 – 1500

  • Bookings: 0844 844 2666* (within UK)
  • Enquiries & Account Management: +44 (0)2380 248589 | (OOH call +44 (0)2380 248589)
  • Email:

*Calls to 0844 844 9988 cost 7p per minute plus your phone company's access charge.

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