Ferry shipping company Stena Line announced Monday that the construction of its two new larger E-Flexer ferries has begun in Weihai, China. The vessels were ordered in 2018 and the delivery is expected in 2022.
The two new vessels planned to be delivered in 2022 are the last of five vessels of the E-Flexer series that Stena Line ordered from sister company Stena RoRo, that 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 in to service on the Belfast-Liverpool route according to plan in January 2021.
The two larger E-Flexer vessels will be 240 meters long with a load capacity of 3,600 length meters, compared to the first three which are 214 meters long and have a load capacity of 3,100 length meters. In total, the larger vessels also get 50% more cabins and beds, 30% increased passenger capacity and an additional 15% 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,” says Stena Line’s CEO Niclas Mårtensson.
Stena Line´s five new vessels of the E-Flexer series are designed and built in collaboration with the sister company Stena RoRo. Each features efficient loading and unloading with drive-through lanes in the two levels.
All five vessels are delivered gas-ready, to allow conversion to methanol or liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel. The two longer vessels will be equipped to use shore power during port calls to reduce emissions. The electricity connection also enables a conversion to electric hybrid in the future. In addition, the vessels are up to 30% more energy efficient than existing ferries in the fleet due to improved hull design, propellers, bulbs and rudders.
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% 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 says.
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.