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Stena Line Confirm ‘Superfast X’ Deployment to Dublin-Holyhead Service in Early 2015

8th December 2014
Stena Line Confirm ‘Superfast X’ Deployment to Dublin-Holyhead Service in Early 2015

#StenaSuperfastX – Amid much speculation the deployment of Stena Superfast X to Dublin-Holyhead route in early 2015 as previously reported on Afloat.ie has been finally confirmed by Stena Line.

The 29,800 tonnes ropax ferry will bring increased capacity as she will replace the route's existing smaller Stena Nordica which currently serves alongside Stena Adventurer.

Stena Superfast X is a sister ship of Stena Superfast VII and VIII that currently operate on the Irish Sea on the Belfast-Cairnryan route.

The introduction of Stena Superfast X as the new second ship on the Dublin-Holyhead service will see the vessel providing capacity for up to 1,200 passengers and almost 2 kms of lane space to accommodate a mix of car and freight traffic.

Ian Davies, Stena Line's Route Manager (Irish Sea South) said: "Providing additional capacity and facilities to expand our Dublin- Holyhead route is an important strategic development for Stena Line on the Irish Sea at this time. Our freight and travel customers will now be able to benefit from an enhanced service on this key trade and tourism gateway at a time when commercial and leisure traffic between Ireland and Britain are showing really encouraging signs of future growth.

Ian added: "By introducing a much larger ship onto the route, we are demonstrating our confidence and commitment to a trade and tourism gateway which will play a key part in helping to drive forward the economies on both sides of the Irish Sea. In the last 5 years alone Stena Line has invested over £250m across its Irish Sea operations and we are confident that the improving economic climate in Ireland and Britain will show that this significant resource commitment has been extremely well timed. As the major tourism gateway into Ireland it is important that Dublin benefits from the best possible transport links. We are looking forward to our enhanced passenger service into Dublin in 2015 playing its part in helping to drive up visitor numbers next year and in the years ahead."

Superfast X as previously reported is being fully modified by McGregor, who are converting the vessel to increase vehicle capacity understood to be closer to her original configuration before she takes up her position on the Dublin-Holyhead service.

The vessel will have a range of facilities including dedicated passenger and freight driver lounges, Barista Coffee House, Met Bar and Grill, a retail shopping outlet and other areas for passengers to relax and enjoy including a premium lounge.

 

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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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!

 

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