Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New RoRo Freight Ferry Addition as Road Cargo Levels Rise on Irish Sea

Stena says Improved Traffic Levels Warrant Extra Ship
Shipping News Feature

UK – Stena Line has quoted improving freight traffic levels as the reason for the increase in its scheduled Irish Sea crossings from the 5th November after adding an additional RoRo ferry sailing on the Belfast-Liverpool (Birkenhead) service. The extra ship means eight more crossings per week which the company says will add greater availability and choice for its cargo customers, and represents a success on a route Stena inherited when it took it over from DFDS as reported in 2011.

The new service addition will mean extra sailings every Tuesday to Friday, from Liverpool at 0300 hours and Belfast at 1500 hours. The vessel added to the route is the 1,600+ lane metres, Stena Hibernia, believed currently laid up, and originally acquired from DFDS, which added her to its fleet after taking over Norfolkline in 2010. Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Route Manager Irish Sea North said:

“The freight market is showing signs of recovery and it’s important that Stena Line adds capacity to accommodate the expected growth. Belfast continues to develop as a key freight hub for Stena Line with 11 daily departures to Cairnryan, Heysham and Liverpool and we are confident our customers will react positively to our expanded service.”

A year ago this month Stena won Irish Sea Shipping Line of the Year 2012 in Belfast at the annual Irish Export & Freight Transport & Logistics Awards, but just last month the company claimed losses on its European operations meant it would have to cut up to 26 shore jobs on its Welsh – Irish ferry links with the announcement that it was discussing reducing staff levels in Holyhead and Fishguard. The company said at the time that services levels would not be impacted but a company spokesman was quoted at the time as saying, ‘our ferry operations have been losing money for a number of years which is clearly not a sustainable position.’