Stena Line has launched its first, next generation RoPax vessel at the Avid Weihai Shipyard in China.
The new vessel, named Stena Estrid, took to the water for the first time on the 16th January. Scheduled to enter service on the Dublin to Holyhead route in early 2020, the unit is the first of three new E-Flexer vessels bound for the Irish Sea by 2021. The other two vessels from the series will be operating between Belfast and Liverpool.
On the same day, the shipyard hosted the keel-laying of the third vessel from the series. Stena Line's sister company Stena RoRo is managing all the E-Flexer building projects at the Avic Weihai Shipyard.
Stena RoRo's CEO, Per Westling, commented;
"We are very happy with the great collaboration at AVID Shipyard, which includes both development and production of the E-Flexer series. From a customer standpoint we have exacting requirements on adaptation and flexibility, which the shipyard has successfully provided, and done so largely with good levels of quality."
Stena RoRo placed an order for eight Stena E-Flexer class vessels between 2016 and 2018. The three vessels that are being built for the Irish Sea will be larger than today's standard RoPax vessels at a length of 215 meters, with a freight capacity of 3,100 lane meters and the space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers. This represents a significant multi-million investment by Stena Line and they have said it 'underscores its commitment' to its Irish Sea operations. In spite of concerns over the impact of Brexit on Holyhead, Stena says it believes Irish Sea ferry transportation will continue to grow in future years.
Niclas Mårtensson, CEO of Stena Line has said;
"This is a very exciting time for our business and I'm proud that as Europe's largest ferry company, Stena Line continues to help shape the industry for the next generation of freight and leisure customers."
Further updates on the Stena E-Flexer series will be available soon.