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Robert.Jervis_43227 Aug 19

Stena Line to boost freight capacity ahead of increase in pre-Brexit trade activity

Stena Line has said it will boost freight capacity on its Liverpool and Heysham routes due to an expected increase in pre-Brexit trade activity
The ferry service will charter the roll-on/roll-off vessel Seatruck Panorama to help increase capacity on its routes connecting Belfast with Liverpool and Heysham.

It follows a "dramatic" Covid-related drop in freight volumes, meaning Stena was forced to remove one freight ship from its Belfast hub, resulting in reduced capacity and frequency.

During the summer months, it reported an increase in freight demand, with today's announcement also coming ahead of an anticipated extra capacity required for the traditionally busy autumn period.

Paul Grant, Stena Line trade director for the Irish Sea, said:

“Adding a seventh ship to our Belfast operations will help us increase frequency, capacity and give us greater operational flexibility.

"This extra ship will be capable of operating to Liverpool and Heysham thus ensuring that we can better match demand and the needs of customers.

"It has been a very challenging time for the freight industry, but we are confident that having additional capacity available on these important trading routes between England and Northern Ireland will help us provide an enhanced sailing schedule for our customers.”

The freight-only ship is expected to start service on September 2, and will make 10 sailings weekly between Belfast and Liverpool/Heysham.

The addition of Panorama on the Northern Ireland to England corridor will increase freight capacity by 28% and frequency will rise from 46 to 56 crossings weekly compared to the present.

In January 2021, Stena Line will further boost freight capacity when it adds the newly built Stena Embla to its Liverpool to Belfast service.

It will replace the smaller Stena Mersey, and will join its sister ship Edda and Estrid in what is a "significant upgrading" of freight and passenger services across the firm's Irish sea routes.

Mr Grant added:

“Despite all of the challenges we and our customers are facing, Stena Line continues to develop its Belfast business hub with these exciting additions to our fleet.

"Stena Line remains committed to support the freight industry to the best of its abilities as it has done throughout the Coronavirus pandemic to date, helping to keep vital supply lines open.”

Source: Business Live