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All Three New Irish Sea Stena E-Flexers On Schedule and Under Construction in China

29th November 2018
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On schedule as Stena Line reach an important milestone in its major new fleet investment programme with steel cutting of a third E-Flexer ship to be deployed on its Irish Sea routes. They are all planned to enter service during 2020 and 2021, now under construction at the Avic Weihai Shipyard in China where first of the new vessels (pictured) is to commence operation on Dublin-Holyhead route in early 2020. The remaining pair will serve Belfast-Liverpool in 2020 and 2021. The trio of E-Flexers will be bigger than today’s Irish Sea standard RoPax vessels, at 215m long with 1,000 passengers, 120 cars and a freight capacity of 3,100 lane meters. On schedule as Stena Line reach an important milestone in its major new fleet investment programme with steel cutting of a third E-Flexer ship to be deployed on its Irish Sea routes. They are all planned to enter service during 2020 and 2021, now under construction at the Avic Weihai Shipyard in China where first of the new vessels (pictured) is to commence operation on Dublin-Holyhead route in early 2020. The remaining pair will serve Belfast-Liverpool in 2020 and 2021. The trio of E-Flexers will be bigger than today’s Irish Sea standard RoPax vessels, at 215m long with 1,000 passengers, 120 cars and a freight capacity of 3,100 lane meters. Photo: Stena Line

#Ferry - Ferry operator Stena Line has reached an important milestone in its major new fleet investment programme with steel-cutting of a third E-Flexer RoPax ship to be deployed on its Irish Sea routes.

This means that all three of Stena Line’s new E-Flexer ships, planned to enter into service on the Irish Sea during 2020 and 2021, are now under construction at the Avic Weihai Shipyard in China.

The first of the new vessels will commence operation on the Holyhead to Dublin route in early 2020, with the remaining two ships to be introduced on the Liverpool to Belfast route in 2020 and 2021.

Stena Line Chief Operating Officer Peter Arvidsson commented: “We are delighted to report that the steel cutting ceremony for the third of our Irish Sea E-Flexer ships has now taken place and that construction is going to plan across all three of our new generation RoPax vessels. Having visited the site several times, we are very impressed with the work being carried out by Stena RoRo, the Avic shipyard and its subcontractors.”

All three Irish Sea E-Flexer vessels will be bigger than today’s standard RoPax vessels at 215 meters long with a freight capacity of 3,100 lane meters and the space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers.

In addition, Stena Line has also ordered a further two E-Flexer RoPax vessels with a larger design, to be deployed within Stena Line’s network in 2022. These larger ships will be 240 meters long with a total freight capacity of 3,600 lane meters, and passenger capacity of 1,200.

“With continued investment in our fleet, we want to lead the development of sustainable shipping and set new industry standards when it comes to operational performance, emissions and cost competiveness,” added Mr Arvidsson.

Stena Line is the largest ferry operator on the Irish Sea, offering 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, a total of 232 weekly sailings. The company also offers a direct service from Rosslare to Cherbourg with three return crossings a week.

Internationally, Stena Line is one of Europe’s leading ferry companies with 38 vessels and 21 routes in Northern Europe.

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 with its extensive passenger operations.

The company is family-owned, was founded in 1962 and is headquartered in Gothenburg.

Stena Line is part of the Stena AB Group, which has about 15 000 employees and an annual turnover of around 36.5 billion SEK.

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. 

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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