When people think of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, vacation travelers most often come to mind. Many don’t realize that the ferry system is part of the interstate commercial link for regional business and the daily movement of goods and services up and down the Northeast corridor. For many, it’s the preferred alternative to the congested I-95 experience.

In any one day on the ferry, it’s not uncommon to see sales reps in cars, 18-wheelers, marine dredging equipment and mobile business RV offices traveling the ferry. Ferry commercial traffic tends to be less-than-carload, short-haul regional carriers, along with package delivery vehicles traveling at the standard car rates. Frequent haulers set up commercial accounts to take advantage of both invoicing and discounts while avoiding the need for tolls for each trip. 

Commercial vehicles can travel on any scheduled crossing, many preferring early morning crossings, particularly from Lewes. However, the most popular crossings for commercial traffic southbound are late afternoon. Truckers either look to stop overnight near the ferry terminal in Lewes, or end their route at nearby distribution and service centers in Delaware and Maryland. Although 20 percent of truckers drive up to the tolls without reservations, reservations are recommended throughout the year. 

Restrictions are minimal 

The ferry’s motto for truckers has become: “If you can carry it, odds are, we can too!” There are some restrictions, but we can accommodate most vehicles across our Rt. 9 Delaware Bay water route. Trucks must be under 13’6” high to clear the car deck ceilings on the ferry, and width allowances are 11’3. The widest loads tend to be half segments of manufactured homes being delivered to various mobile home and RV parks, and loads wider than 8’6” are charged for two lanes of space on the car deck. 

There are restrictions on hazardous materials on board including paint and adhesives. If there’s a question of what’s allowed on board, it’s best to call customer service and they’ll check with the port captain on acceptable loads. 

Why Ferry Travel Works for Truckers

Trucks are the dominant mode of freight transportation in the U.S. with estimates showing trucking hauling approximately 75 percent of freight. Unfortunately, highway transportation systems maintained by state and federal authorities have not always kept up with the load resulting in increased congestion, delays and safety concerns for highway truckers. Truckers taking the ferry report they appreciate the break from the road, the fresh air, and avoiding the stress of I-95. It’s one of the few times they can honestly take a rest while still moving forward – letting ferry captains do the driving for them.

For more information on ferry travel, visit CMLF.com/trucks, or call 800-643-3779.