Stena Line’s Belfast to Heysham freight ferry terminal will move from VT1 on Dargan Road to the former Stena Line Belfast to Stranraer terminal at Albert Quay, also currently used by the Isle of Man Steam Packet from Friday, June 14th. This will enable the upgrade of the linkspan at Victoria Terminal 2 ahead of the arrival of the first new Stena E-Flexer for the Belfast to Liverpool route in 2020 STENA EDDA, with the Liverpool ships temporarily using the VT1 linkspan currently used by the Heysham vessels. The current Liverpool ships are too large to berth at the Albert Quay Ro-Ro ramp, however, with Heysham being a restricted port STENA HIBERNIA and STENA SCOTIA are significantly smaller than their Belfast to Liverpool fleet mates and so able to be accommodated. Like the Steam Packet vessels MANANNAN and BEN-MY-CHREE, STENA HIBERNIA and STENA SCOTIA will use the Albert Quay Ro-Ro ramp, opposite Titanic Belfast.
The freight marshalling area at the Albert Quay terminal had been used for the storage of containers until recently, however, NIFS understands these have been moved to vacant land adjacent to Stena’s current Scottish terminal VT4. This free’s up sufficient space for Stena Line and the Isle of Man Steam Packet to both use the terminal, which has not seen daily ferry visits for some years now. The terminal at Albert Quay was originally opened to coincide with what was then Stena Sealink Line switching their Northern Ireland port from Larne to Belfast, with all Stena Sealink services to Stranraer switching to the facility from November 12th 1995. Stena Line continued to use the facility until moving to the new £37m purpose-built facility at Victoria Terminal 4 (VT4) on the evening of May 6th 2008, with the first sailing being the 07:55 departure of HSS STENA VOYAGER the following morning.