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Construction begins on Stena Line’s hybrid ferries for Belfast-Heysham route

Last year, Stena Line announced that two new hybrid freight ferries had been ordered from Stena RoRo destined for the Heysham to Belfast route, with the first due to enter service in autumn 2025.

The ‘NewMax’ vessels are of a unique design with the most efficient hull form to maximise freight volumes and their addition to the route will boost freight capacity by 80 per cent compared to current ship capacity.

The new hybrid ships will play a key role in Stena Line’s journey to sustainable fuel as they will both be able to operate on methanol fuel.

Stena Line is currently working closely with the supply chain of methanol and has secured future volumes of e-methanol to fulfil its strategic ambition of shifting to renewable fuels.

In addition to the multi-million pound investment in the ships, Stena Line announced last month it had signed an agreement with Peel Ports to operate in Heysham Port until the end of the century, reaffirming its confidence in the continued success of the route.

As part of the new agreement, Stena Line and Peel Ports will aim to secure the shore infrastructure to provide additional electrical capacity to facilitate the future goal of powering the new ships by shore power.

The new vessels will have in-built technologies that can take advantage of both battery propulsion and shore power. The ships will be futureproofed with a progressive propulsion that ultimately will allow the vessels to be decarbonised.

Paul Grant, Trade Director Irish Sea, Stena Line said:

“We’re excited to announce that the steel cutting has taken place for our state-of-the-art ‘NewMax’ ships for our Heysham to Belfast route – a landmark moment for the service. An important trading corridor across the Irish Sea, we have seen significant growth in the service in recent years and the extra boost in capacity that the ships will provide will help us to meet customer demand.

“The capabilities of these new hybrid ships to operate on alternative fuel will also be instrumental in reaching Stena Line’s ambitious sustainability targets and achieving our goal of establishing future-proofed fossil free shipping corridors.”

Ships Montly - January 2024

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