Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Stena Line Opens New Port

25th November 2011
2291 Views
Stena Line Opens New Port
#FERRY–Stena Line's new £80 million Loch Ryan Port and terminal facility in Cairnryan was officially opened today by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and Stena Line Chairman Dan Sten Olsson.

The new 27 acre port is one of the most modern port facilities in the UK and heralds the start of a new route between Scotland and Northern Ireland, which will be serviced by two new ships, Stena Superfast VII and Stena Superfast VIII, the largest ferries ever to sail between the two countries.

Stena_Line

(l-R) Minister for Regional Development Danny Kennedy, MLA, Dan Sten Olsson, Chairman of Stena Line and Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond

The new ships will complete the crossing in 2 hours 15 minutes and will operate 12 scheduled sailings per day between Cairnryan and Belfast.

The opening of the new port brings Stena Line's recent investment in the service to a massive £200M, which also includes the opening in 2008 of the VT4 port in Belfast, and safeguards the ferry link between Scotland and Northern Ireland for the next generation.

Dan Sten Olsson, Chairman of Stena Line said: "Today is a historic day for the people of Scotland and Northern Ireland. The long term future of this important ferry link between both countries has been secured for future generations and I'm delighted that Stena Line has been able to play its part in maintaining a connection between both countries which goes back over 150 years.

"This investment represents one of the biggest financial route commitments ever made by Stena Line and I'm delighted that after years of planning and hard work the day has finally arrived when we can enjoy using one of the most modern port and terminal facilities in the UK. We have built a facility that will support and stimulate both leisure and freight markets and we are confident that this and the next generation will continue to see ferry travel as an important part of their travel plans."

I am confident that our leisure and freight customers will see that we have taken great care to meet their needs constructing a service and facilities around them and I look forward to the prospect of Cairnryan – Belfast becoming one of the leading ferry services on the Irish Sea."

Speaking at the opening First Minister Alex Salmond said:

"I am absolutely thrilled to be at the Loch Ryan port to open this hugely impressive and important new gateway to Scotland. It is exciting to see how this former brownfield site has been transformed into a 21st century ferry port in less than two years, safeguarding hundreds of jobs at the terminal and ensuring this historic ferry link continues for generations to come.

"As well as being the first of the projects from our Second National Planning Framework to be completed, the work here represents a major investment by Stena Line and is a demonstration of their commitment to Scotland. As passengers will see, the terminal facilities at Loch Ryan are first class, and will serve two outstanding refitted vessels that will reduce journey times and be more fuel efficient. These are exciting times for all those involved in Stena Line, and I extend my warmest congratulations to those that have brought this fantastic project to completion."

Addressing the audience at Loch Ryan today, Minister for Regional Development in Northern Ireland, Danny Kennedy MLA, said: "This significant investment by Stena Line in Loch Ryan complements the company's earlier investment in the modern facilities at the Port of Belfast, which handles 60% of Northern Ireland's seaborne trade.

"The link across the North Channel is of great economic, social and cultural importance to both countries. The recent major investments in harbour facilities in Scotland and Northern Ireland, culminating with the arrival of Stena Line's new ships on this route, will help strengthen this commercial link and its trading position."

Scheduled sailings from the new Loch Ryan Port began on Monday November 21st with 10 crossings per day which will increase to 12 sailings from December 5th.

Published in Ferry
Afloat.ie Team

About The Author

Afloat.ie Team

Email The Author

Afloat.ie is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

DBSC
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating