Stena Line presses ahead with ferry fleet modernization

Written by Nick Blenkey
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The two larger E-Flexers will be 240 meters long with a load capacity of 3,600 lane meters

With 36 vessels and 18 routes in Northern Europe operating 28,000 sailings each year, Gothenburg, Sweden, headquartered Stena Line is one of Europe’s largest ferry operators. And it says that, despite the pandemic, it is moving ahead with an ambitious fleet modernization program.

Under that program, two 214 meter E-Flexer ferries, Stena Estrid and Stena Edda, entered service on the Irish Sea earlier this year. A third 214-meter E-Flexer vessel, Stena Embla, is expected to be delivered on time and will start operating on the Belfast-Liverpool route in January 2021.


Meantime, Stena Line reported today that construction of two new, larger, E-Flexer ferries has begun at the CMI Jinling Weihai Shipyard in China. The vessels were ordered in 2018 and delivery is expected in 2022.

The two larger E-Flexers will be 240 meters long with a load capacity of 3,600 lane meters, compared to the first three which are 214 meters long and have a load capacity of 3,100 lane meters. In total, the larger vessels also provide 50% more cabins and beds, 30% increased passenger 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” says Stena Line’s CEO Niclas Mårtensson.

Stena Line’s E-Flexer vessels are designed and built in collaboration with sister company Stena RoRo,.

Among their 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 a conversion to electric hybrid in the future.

In addition to the five newbuilds, two existing vessels, Stena Lagan and Stena Mersey, will be extended by 36 meters and modified with efficient drive-through capabilities for loading and unloading on two levels. In total the modifications will increase the cargo capacity by 30% and add on a total of 75 cabins. The two vessels are expected to be back in traffic in Stena Line’s network in 2021.

“We continue to build on our successful RoPax concept with a mix of freight and passengers. By modernizing and standardizing our vessel fleet, we ensure a reliable operation can in an even better way support and grow with our customers,” says Mårtensson.

So far Stena Line has not disclosed where the two new larger vessels of the E-Flexer model, or the extended vessels Stena Lagan and Stena Mersey, will operate.

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