FERRY company Stena Line has reached an important milestone in its major new fleet investment programme with the 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.
Construction is halfway through on the first E-Flexer vessel which is planned to commence operation on the Holyhead to Dublin route in early 2020, with four daily sailings and an estimated crossing time of approximately 3.5 hours.
Ian Davies, Stena Line Trade Director Irish Sea South, commented: “We are pleased to report that construction is going to plan on our new generation E-Flexer vessel which is set to increase our freight capacity significantly on the Holyhead to Dublin route and raise the service standards for our travel and freight customers.
“The introduction of this ship, along with two new E-Flexer vessels on the Liverpool to Belfast route, is a real vote of confidence in the development of our Irish Sea operations and lays the foundation for continued future growth following a record year last year, in which we carried over 800,000 freight units on our routes to and from the Island of Ireland,” he added.
The Liverpool to Belfast ships are due to enter service in 2020 and early 2021. 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.
Stena Line Chief Operating Officer Peter Arvidsson commented: “We are delighted 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.
“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 Holyhead to Dublin, Fishguard to Rosslare, Liverpool to Belfast, Heysham to Belfast and Cairnryan to Belfast, a total of 232 weekly sailing options.