A last-minute change will still see Stena Embla debut as Stena’s third new ship to be added to Irish Sea routes in the last year
Update: 14 January 2021
Changes in levels of demand and in the UK’s status with regard to the EU are behind a decision to redeploy newbuild Stena Embla, according to a statement from the ferry line.
"Stena Line’s newest addition to its fleet, the brand-new Stena Embla will make its Irish Sea debut on the Rosslare-Cherbourg service," the company said. "Originally scheduled for service on the Belfast-Liverpool route, due to the current Brexit-related shift for direct routes and increasing customer demand, Stena Line has decided to temporarily deploy the Stena Embla on Rosslare-Cherbourg. The first sailing will be the 20.25 hrs departure from Rosslare on 14 January 2021."
Stena Line Irish Sea trade director Paul Grant said “Given the short-term market distortion, we have decided to temporarily deploy our new Stena Embla vessel on the Rosslare–Cherbourg route. Clearly, Brexit has created an increase in the demand for direct freight routes, and in particular driver-accompanied freight, so the addition of Stena Embla, while temporary, plus the recently introduced Stena Foreteller to the route will provide a welcome addition for our customers at this time. At present we are currently reviewing our Rosslare-Cherbourg operations and will keep engaging with our customers to identify the most appropriate Stena Line operation for the route.
Stena Embla will make three weekly return trips between Rosslare and Cherbourg, which alongside Stena Foreteller will see Stena Line operate 12 crossings per week between Ireland and the European continent. Stena Line is the largest ferry operator on the Irish Sea, with the biggest fleet offering the widest choice of routes including combined passenger and freight services from Belfast to Cairnryan and Liverpool, Dublin to Holyhead, and Rosslare to Fishguard routes, as well as a freight only route from Belfast to Heysham, a total of up to 238 weekly sailing options between Ireland and Britain.
5 January 2021
The vessel is the third of Stena’s E-Flexer ferries to be commissioned for the operator’s Irish Sea routes in the last 12 months as part of a fleet modernisation effort.
The vessel was built at China Merchants Jinling Shipyard in Weihai, China and at 215 m in length, provides freight capacity of 3,100 lane metres, can accommodate 120 cars and 1,000 passengers and crew, providing a significant 20% increase in freight capacity for the route, which is expected to see an increase in demand post-Brexit.
Stena Line Irish Sea trade director Paul Grant said “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 (US$543M) in our ferries and port facilities on the Irish Sea in recent years. The Belfast-Liverpool route is one of the most popular Irish Sea crossings for both freight and leisure traffic, so having a second vessel of the calibre of Stena Embla, with a host of high-quality passenger facilities, will further increase its appeal and expand our capacity.”
“In March 2020 we launched our newbuild Stena Edda onto the Belfast-Liverpool service and the feedback from our freight and leisure customers was extremely positive. Now we will have two ships offering identical services and facilities which will help take our service levels on the route to new heights. We have real confidence in the future of our Belfast services and our Irish Sea routes in general, which is why this region has attracted three brand new ships in the last 12 months alone.”
Stena Embla will make one daily return trip between Belfast and Liverpool. The line is the largest ferry operator on the Irish Sea and offers combined passenger and freight services from Belfast to Cairnryan and Liverpool, Dublin to Holyhead, and Rosslare to Fishguard routes, as well as a freight only route from Belfast to Heysham, a total of up to 238 weekly sailing options between Britain and Ireland. Stena Line also offers a direct service from Rosslare to Cherbourg with 12 crossings per week.
Looking forward to the new year, Mr Grant concluded “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.”
Stena Line head of UK Port Authorities, Ian Davies said the first day post-Brexit has seen freight successfully accessing ports.
He said “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.
“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.
“The day has not been without issues for some hauliers, which was expected. The occasional vehicle has been turned away due to not having the correct customs references, but most have returned later with everything in order and been shipped. There will be an adjustment period while businesses get used to the new procedures, so for any hauliers that have not completed registrations on the customs systems, we would urge them to obtain the correct references before they arrive at check-in. Otherwise they will not be allowed access into our ports.”
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