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Tuesday, June 30, 2020 

Ro-pax operator Stena Line says that building has begun in Weihai, China, on its two new larger E-Flexer ferries has begun in Weihai, China, while two of its existing vessels are to be extended for increased capacity.

The two new vessels, the fourth and fifth E-Flexers for the Stena Line fleet, were ordered in 2018 and delivery is expected in 2022. Stena Line has confirmed the third E-Flexer vessel destined for the Irish Sea, Stena Embla, is expected to be delivered on time and will start operating on the Belfast-Liverpool route in January 2021.

The ships were ordered by sister company Stena RoRo from the CMI Jinling Weihai Shipyard in China. Of the first three vessels, the first two, Stena Estrid and Stena Edda, have already entered service on the Irish Sea earlier this year. Stena Embla is in the final stages of construction. The larger E-Flexer vessels will be 240m long with a load capacity of 3,600 lane metres, compared to the first three which are 214m and 3,100 lane metres. The larger vessels get 50% more cabins and beds, 3 % increased passenger capacity and an additional 15% cargo capacity.

Stena Line CEO Niclas Mårtensson said: “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.”

The E-flexers are expected to be 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 another two existing vessels in the fleet, Stena Lagan and Stena Mersey, will be extended by 36m and modified with drive-through capabilities for loading and unloading in two levels, increasing cargo capacity by 30%.

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