Two ferry companies have announced a deal to collaborate on cross-channel services which could boost traffic through the Port of Ramsgate in Kent.
LD Lines and Transeuropa Ferries are to work together to provide passenger and freight services between Ramsgate and Ostend, Belgium, from mid-March.
LD's vessel, Norman Spirit, will be transferred from the Dover to Boulogne route and renamed Ostend Spirit.
The ship can carry up to 1,850 passengers, 250 cars and 75 lorries.
Thanet District Council's portfolio holder for regeneration, Roger Latchford, said: "This is marvellous news for both Ramsgate and Thanet.
"The port was built to receive vessels of this size and it's good to welcome them back, especially because of the increased freight and passengers they represent."
The two companies announced the co-operation agreement which would involve LD Lines developing the tourist aspect of the business while Transeuropa would concentrate on freight traffic.
Under the agreement, the renamed Ostend Spirit would be operated by Transeuropa on a long-term charter basis.
Johan Vande Lanotte, chairman of the Port of Ostend and former deputy prime minister of Belgium said: "This is excellent news for the port of Ostend and for the region.
"This is a clear signal we have survived the worst of the crisis and we are now building for the future. This co-operation is an important step in our plan for growth."
LD Lines said the Norman Spirit, currently operating between Dover and Boulogne, would be replaced by the Brave Merchant, which will also be renamed. Services will not be disrupted.