The first three of the large ro-ros on order by Stena, from the Avic Co’s Weihai yard in China, are proposed for their Irish Sea routes and all the vessels are on schedule as the impressive steel fabrication of the first of the trio indicates.
Stena Line has witnessed the third vessel’s steel cutting celebration of these ‘E-Flexer RoPax’ vessels. The impression of the ships certainly shows a business-like effi cient high capacity ship inevitably lacking in a certain individuality. All three of Stena Line’s new vessels are due to enter into service on the Irish Sea during 2020 and 2021. The first will commence operation Holyhead to Dublin in early 2020, with the remaining two ships on the Liverpool to Belfast route in 2020 and 2021. This will leave the short sea route Cairnryan-Belfast to the rather more elegant ‘Superfasts’, but the whole fleet will certainly look more cohesive and ready for the next 20 years or so. It will reinforce Stena’s position as the largest ferry operator on the Irish Sea, with the biggest fleet and the widest choice of routes between Britain and Ireland, including, Liverpool to Belfast, Heysham to Belfast, Cairnryan to Belfast, Holyhead to Dublin and Fishguard to Rosslare, making a total of 232 weekly sailings. The company also offers a direct service from Rosslare to Cherbourg with three return crossings a week.
In addition, Stena Line has ordered a further two enlarged E-Flexer RoPax vessels to be deployed within Stena Line’s network in 2022. These larger ships will be 240 metres long with a total freight capacity of 3,600 lane metres, and passenger capacity of 1,200.
Stena Line is family-owned, and was founded in 1962. It is headquartered in Gothenburg, having 38 vessels and 21 routes in Northern Europe and is part of the Stena AB Group, with about 15,000 employees and an annual turnover of 36.5 billion SEK. The company is an important part of the European logistics network and develops new intermodal freight solutions by combining transport by rail, road and sea. Stena Line also plays an important role for tourism in Europe and the UK with its extensive passenger operation.