Stena Line has confirmed that the first of its new RoPax ferries currently under construction in China is planned to enter service on its Holyhead – Dublin route early 2020. The following two is assigned to Liverpool-Belfast.
Last year Stena (Stena Line’s parent company) announced a new build contract for a new generation of RoPax ferry vessels, Stena E-Flexer, with planned deliveries during 2020 and 2021. Stena has ordered the construction of six new vessels from the AVIC Shipyard in China and the plan is to locate three of these ships on Stena Line's Irish Sea routes. The other three will be chartered out to external parties by Stena Line’s sister company Stena RoRo.
Stena Line’s CEO Niclas Mårtensson said: “Our Irish Sea routes are strategically very important to Stena Line and our customer, with the freight market between Ireland and UK experiencing significant growth over the last five years. That’s why we have invested almost £200m in our ports and vessels across the region to improve and grow our capacity to offer a frequent, reliable and high-quality service for our freight and travel customers. The deployment of three new vessels is a tangible example of our strategic growth plan for the Irish Sea. I’m delighted to confirm that the first of our new vessels will be deployed on the Holyhead - Dublin service planned for early 2020. Furthermore, I can also confirm that two other vessels will be assigned to our Liverpool – Belfast service planned for spring of 2020 and early 2021."
The new vessel being deployed will have capacity for 1 000 passengers, 120 cars as well as 3 100 freight lane meters delivering 4 daily sailings with an estimated crossing time of approximately 3.5 hrs.
Ian Davies, Stena Line Trade Director Irish Sea South commented: “Freight volumes have surpassed the Celtic Tiger peaks of 2007 and we are confident that this upward trend will continue. 2017 was a record year for Stena Line in the Irish Sea where we carried over 800,000 freight units on our routes to and from the Island of Ireland. We welcome the addition of the first of our new generation RoPax vessels on Holyhead - Dublin. It will significantly increase freight capacity and raise the service standards for travel and freight customers”
Also for region Irish Sea North, the new vessels are the basis for continued growth.
Paul Grant, Stena Line Trade Director commented: “This is a significant boost for our popular Belfast – Liverpool service. The two new ships will be the biggest ships ever to operate on the Belfast – Liverpool service and will increase capacity for freight and travel customers as well as raising the service standards. Our onboard cabin concept will be enhanced offering comfortable and relaxing day and overnight crossing options. The ships will be ‘drive-through’ making the loading and disembarkation processes faster and smoother for vehicles.”
Paul Grant added: “This expansion programme comes on the back of the recent purchase of our Superfast ships on the Belfast – Cairnryan service which not only enables Stena Line to deliver a high-quality product for freight and travel customers now but also lays the foundation for continued future growth in the region.”