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.
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 customers, 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.
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.”
The new vessel being deployed on the Holyhead – Dublin route 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.
Ken Skates AM, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport said: “I am delighted Stena Line has chosen the Holyhead – Dublin service to introduce the first of their highly innovative E-Flexer series of RoPax ferries. This is a significant investment by the company which clearly demonstrates their confidence in the future of trade and tourism between Britain and Ireland, which is especially important in the current uncertain climate which surrounds Brexit. The investment underscores Holyhead’s strategic position as a key UK trade gateway. I am particularly pleased to hear that the new ferries will be amongst the most energy efficient in the world. Business on both sides of the Irish Sea will benefit from this exciting new addition to sea transport in the form of additional freight capacity on what is already a very busy route between Holyhead and Dublin. We are looking forward to welcome the new vessel to one of her new home port in Wales and on behalf of the Welsh Government I would like to wish Stena Line every success with this important investment and vote of confidence in the region.”
The new vessels under construction are being built in line with Stena Line’s strategic business focuses on sustainability and digitilisation with the aim of providing state-of-the-art efficiency, flexibility and customer service.
“Our new RoPax ferries will be among the most energy efficient in the world with significantly lower CO2 emissions per freight unit against comparable RoPax tonnage. Our aim is to lead the shipping industry in sustainability and digital development and set new industry standards when it comes to operational performance and emissions. The vessels will run on traditional fuel but are designed to the class notation ‘gas ready’ and are also prepared for catalytic scrubbers, thus giving us increased flexibility for the future. We are also placing heavy emphasis on developing a range of exciting new digital features which will provide our customers with unique additional services connected with their journey as well as developing a new, integrated digital onboard experience,” said Niclas Mårtensson.