Stena Line’s new eco-friendly RoPax makes Belfast debut

Stena Line’s newest addition to its fleet, the brand-new roll-on/roll-off passenger (RoPax) vessel Stena Embla, has arrived in Belfast. 

Stena Line

Stena Embla is the third environmentally friendly, energy-efficient E-Flexer ferry to be commissioned for Stena Line’s Irish Sea routes in the last 12 months.  

Image Courtesy: Stena Line

Delivered to the Swedish ferry operator in November 2020, Stena Embla will join her sister ship on the Belfast – Liverpool route later this month and make one daily return trip between the two cities.

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The newbuild has the capacity to carry 1,000 passengers, 120 cars and 3,100 lane metres of freight. This will provide a significant 20% increase in freight capacity for the route, which is expected to see an increase in demand post-Brexit, according to the company.

“The arrival in Belfast of our newly built Stena Embla is yet another important milestone in the ongoing enhancement programme of our Irish Sea services.  We have now invested over £400m in our ferries and port facilities on the Irish Sea in recent years,” Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Irish Sea Trade Director, commented.

“Clearly 2020 has been a difficult year for our business, however, despite this Stena Line has remained resolute in our ongoing commitment to driving our freight and travel business forward in the region.”

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The new Stena Line ferries are 25% more fuel-efficient than existing vessels. With the E-Flexer class, the company said it set a new standard in terms of emissions, cost and energy efficiency, as well as performance.

Post-Brexit ferry operations

After the United Kingdom left the European Union, new rules took effect on 1 January 2021.

On the first day post-Brexit, the majority of freight successfully accessed ports where Stena ships regularly operate, the company informed.

“Currently freight traffic is flowing well through our ports across the UK and Ireland. All government customs and regulatory IT systems are working well with no issues reported,” Ian Davies, Head of UK Port Authorities, Stena Line, said.

“At present freight volumes are markedly down on pre-Christmas/Brexit stockpiling levels, so it is too early to draw any conclusions. But we are happy with the way the new procedures are operating and remain cautiously optimistic that, as freight volumes begin to rise again, we will be able to ensure the continued free movement of goods.”