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Contract Signed for Four New Stena RoPax Ferries

5th April 2016
Stena has signed a contract for four new RoPax ferries to be built in China, with an option for a further quartet  Stena has signed a contract for four new RoPax ferries to be built in China, with an option for a further quartet Photo: Image: Stena Line

#RopaxOrder - An order for four new RoPax ferries subject to Stena board approval by end of April are planned for delivery during 2019 and 2020, with an option for another quartet of vessels.

The vessels will be optimized for efficiency and flexibility and will be built by AVIC Shipyard in China. The intention is that the four initial vessels will be used within Stena Lines route network in Northern Europe.

“We are very pleased that Stena have signed a contract for four vessels with an option for another four. During the course of the past 24 months our engineering staff has managed to develop a design that is not only 50% larger than today’s standard RoPax vessels, but more importantly, incorporates the emission reduction and efficiency initiatives that have been developed throughout the Stena Group during the past years. These ships will be the most fuel efficient ferries in the world and will set a new industry standard when it comes to operational performance, emissions and cost competitiveness, positioning Stena Line to support its customers in the next decades”, says Carl-Johan Hagman, Managing Director of Stena Line.

The vessels will have a capacity of more than 3 000 lane meters in a drive-through configuration and will accommodate about 1 000 passengers and offer a full range of passenger services. The main engines will be “gas ready”, prepared to be fueled by either methanol or LNG.

“With this investment we are building on our successful RoPax concept mixing freight and passengers. Through standardization we secure a reliable operation and through flexibility we can provide an even better support to our customers and help them to grow”, says Carl-Johan Hagman.

“We foresee a continued demand growth for short sea services in Northern Europe and in many other parts of the world. Ferry transportation will play an essential part in shaping tomorrow’s logistics infrastructure if we are to have sustainable societies. Not only is transportation on sea the most environmentally efficient way of moving goods, it is also infrastructure that provides reliable and speedy logistics with very limited public cost. Through this investment we prepare Stena Line for further growth”, says Dan Sten Olsson, Chairman in Stena Line.

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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