Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Swedish ferry company Stena Line has confirmed that the construction of its two new, larger E-Flexer ferries has begun in Weihai, China.
The vessels were ordered in 2018 and are scheduled for delivery in 2022.
The ferries are the last of five vessels of the E-Flexer series that Stena Line ordered from sister company Stena RoRo. They are being built at the CMI Jinling Weihai Shipyard in China.
Of the first three vessels, the first two — Stena Estrid and Stena Edda — have already entered service on the Irish Sea earlier this year. The third vessel, Stena Embla, is in the final stages of construction and is expected to go into service on the Belfast-Liverpool route according to plan in early 2021.
The two larger E-Flexer vessels will be 240 metres long with a load capacity of 3,600 length metres, compared to the first three which are 214 metres long and have a load capacity of 3,100 length meters. In total, the larger vessels also get 50 per cent more cabins and beds, 30 per cent increased passenger capacity and an additional 15 per cent cargo capacity.
“Despite a tough time during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have shown how important Stena Line is to linking Europe’s freight and passenger transport and vital supply lines. We believe in continued growth and demand in all our markets and with the new ferries in place we will be well equipped for the future,” Niclas Mårtensson, Stena Line’s CEO, commented.
Stena Line’s five new vessels of the E-Flexer series are designed and built in collaboration with the sister company Stena RoRo, and said to be among the world’s most efficient RoPax vessels.
One of their features is efficient loading and unloading with drive-through lanes in the two levels. In addition, the newbuilds are up to 30 per cent more energy efficient than existing vessels in the fleet, thanks to optimum design of the hulls, propellers, bulbs and rudders. All five vessels will be delivered gas-ready to allow conversion to methanol or LNG fuel.
What is more, the two longer vessels will be equipped to use shore power during port calls to reduce emissions. The electricity connection also enables conversion to electric hybrid in the future.
In addition to the five newbuilds, another two existing vessels in the fleet, Stena Lagan and Stena Mersey, will be extended by 36 metres and modified with efficient drive-through capabilities for loading and unloading in two levels.
In total, the modifications will increase the cargo capacity by 30 per cent and add on a total of 75 cabins. The two vessels are expected to be back in traffic in Stena Line’s network in 2021.
”We continue to build on our successful RoPax concept with a mix of freight and passengers. By modernizing and standardizing our vessel fleet, we ensure a reliable operation can in an even better way support and grow with our customers,” Mårtensson further said.
So far Stena Line has not revealed where the two new larger vessels of the E-Flexer model, or the extended vessels Stena Lagan and Stena Mersey, will operate.