P&O Ferries is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dubai Ports World and it operates ferry services from the United Kingdom to Ireland and Continental Europe.
The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) established ferry services in the United Kingdom in the late 1960s, operating in both the North Sea and the English Channel.
In the late 1970s P&O was heavily affected by a reduction in traditional shipping activities which saw the P&O Group sell a number of its businesses and assets. In 1985 the P&O Group sold its cross-channel ferry business to the European Ferries Group.
In January 1986 and with the P&O Group now being on a better financial footing the group purchased a 50.01% interest in European Financial Holdings Ltd, which held 20.8% of shares in the European Ferries Group (trading as Townsend Thoresen). In early 1987 the remaining shares of the European Ferries Group were acquired. On the 22nd October 1987, the operations of Townsend Thoresen were renamed P&O European Ferries.