Stena AB, the parent company of ferry company Stena Line, is hosting an international conference in Belfast this week.
Belfast is Stena Line’s largest European business hub. The company currently operates seven ferries on three separate routes from the Northern Ireland capital.
Stena AB employs over 16,000 people across Europe. This includes approximately 2,500 on Stena Line’s six Irish Sea ferry routes which link the Island of Ireland with Scotland, England, Wales, and France.
Over 260 delegates will attend the annual Stena Sphere Forum which started today, 21 September, at the ICC in Belfast. The event brings together senior executives from across the Stena companies which operate in diverse sectors such as shipping, recycling, finance, property and environmental services.
The keynote address will be from Stena AB owner and CEO Dan Stena Olsson, whose father founded the company. Stena has invested heavily in Northern Ireland over the last 28 years when the company relocated its operations from Larne to Belfast.
Most recently Stena Line announced that it had ordered two brand new bespoke NewMax freight ferries for the Belfast to Heysham route. This follows an investment in two brand new E-Flexer ferries, STENA EDDA and STENA EMBLA, for the Belfast to Liverpool service which entered service in 2020/21.
The company also completed a new port in Loch Ryan for its Belfast to Scotland service in 2011 and acquired STENA SUPERFAST VII and STENA SUPERFAST VIII for the route to replace older tonnage.
Paul Grant, Stena Line Trade Director (Irish Sea) said:
“We’re delighted to bring senior colleagues from other Stena Sphere companies to Belfast to highlight our development and the exciting journey Northern Ireland is on.
“Our Belfast hub has grown rapidly and today we now operate seven ships on three routes from Belfast Port. The commitment from Stena Line over the last 28 years to Northern Ireland has been unwavering as has their financial support for our Irish Sea routes with more than £500m of investment in state-of-the-art ships and port facilities over the last decade alone, servicing growing freight and tourism demands.
“This commitment is exemplified with Stena Line’s recent confirmation of the constructing of two new bespoke freight ferries for the Belfast-Heysham freight service, which will increase freight capacity on the route by approx. 80%. The ‘NewMax’ vessels, the first of which is due to enter service on the route in autumn 2025 will also be able to operate on methanol fuel, an important development in Stena Line’s future sustainability commitment.”Source: Stena Line Press Release.
As part of the three day conference delegates will visit Titanic Belfast and attend a Gala dinner at Belfast City Hall. The event comes a week after the International Investment Conference, also at the ICC in Belfast, where it was announced that local company Artemis Technologies and Orkney Ferries have been given UK Government Funding to design and build two new fully electric ferries for the Orkney Islands. The ICC was previously known as the Waterfront Hall.