‘Stena Horizon’ is to replace ‘Stena Hollandica’ on the night sailing from Hoek Van Holland to Harwich on 8th January.
She will then cover for the ‘Stena Britannica’s’ scheduled drydocking from 25th January through 10th February.
Throughout the period, ‘Stena Horizon’ will maintain the night sailing ex Hoek Van Holland/daytime sailing ex Harwich schedule.
Both of the regular Harwich/Hoek large ropaxes are to undergo a refurbishment programme involving their shops, cafe, lounge and bar facilities to be ready for the Spring of next year.
Following her stint on the North Sea, it is expected that ‘Stena Horizon’ will return to the Birkenhead/Dublin service to replace the defunct P&O Ferries freight operation.
It is thought that at a later date, Stena will introduce a ropax onto the UK/Ireland service.
Stena Line has also revealed that it has signed a long term deal with UK ports operator, Peel Ports Group, to operate from Heysham for the next 77 years up to 2100.
The Swedish ferry company runs a twice daily freight service connecting Belfast and Heysham.
The news also comes on the back of Stena Line’s announcement this month of a new freight service between Dublin and Peel Ports’ 12 Quays Terminal in Birkenhead.
Earlier this year, Stena Line and Peel Ports signed a similar agreement for the 12 Quays Terminal to operate from Birkenhead until the end of the century.
This year, Stena Line also announced that it is making a multi-million-pound investment in the Belfast/Heysham route with two newbuilding ‘NewMax’ freight ferries, which will boost freight capacity by 80%.
With the first vessel due to begin on the route in 2025, these hybrid ferries will be equipped to operate on methanol fuel.
Peel Ports, working in co-operation with Stena Line, plans to invest in new terminal management and a ‘smart gate’ automatic check-in system to improve customer experience at the port, and will increase the parking for trailers to accommodate the additional capacity of the new vessels.
In addition, both companies will aim to secure the shore infrastructure to provide additional electrical capacity to facilitate the future goal of powering the new ships by green shore power.