The construction of two more larger E-Flexer ropaxes has begun in Weihai, China, Stena Line has confirmed.
The vessels were ordered in 2018 and their delivery is expected in 2022.
They are the last of five vessels in the E-Flexer series that Stena ordered from sister company Stena RoRo, which were ordered from CMI Jinling Weihai Shipyard in China.
Of the first three vessels, the first two: ‘Stena Estrid’ and ‘Stena Edda’, 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 in early 2021.
The two larger E-Flexer vessels will be 240 m in length with a load capacity of 3,600 lane m, compared to the first three, which are 214 m long and have a load capacity of 3,100 lane m.
In total, the larger vessels will also have 50% more cabins and beds, 30% increased pax 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,” said Stena Line’s CEO, Niclas Mårtensson.
All five of Stena Line´s E-Flexers were designed and built in collaboration with sister company, Stena RoRo.
Among the distinguishing features are:
- Efficient loading and unloading with drive-through lanes in the two levels.
- Up to 30 % more energy efficient than existing vessels in the fleet, thanks to optimum design of the hulls, propellers, bulbs and rudders.
- All five vessels are delivered gas-ready, to allow conversion to methanol or LNG fuel.
- The two longer vessels will be equipped to use shore power during port calls to reduce emissions. The electricity connection also enables future conversion to electric hybrid.
In addition to the five newbuilds, two existing vessels in the fleet, ‘Stena Lagan’ and ‘Stena Mersey’, will be lengthened by 36 m and modified with efficient drive-through capabilities for loading and unloading on two levels.
In total, these modifications will increase the cargo capacity by 30% and add on a total of 75 cabins. The two vessels are expected to be back operating across Stena Line’s network in 2021.
”We continue to build on our successful ropax concept with a mix of freight and passengers. By modernising and standardising our vessel fleet, we ensure a reliable operation can in an even better way support and grow with our customers,” Mårtensson explained.