The latest of Stena Line’s E-Flexer ferries makes her debut on the Belfast – Liverpool (Birkenhead) route tonight. STENA EMBLA will leave Belfast Victoria Terminal 2 at 23:00 tonight in place of STENA EDDA. STENA EMBLA returned from Rosslare earlier today having provided cover for STENA HORIZON to undergo maintenance at Belfast.
STENA EDDA is expected to attend Harland & Wolff for dry docking in the coming days for minor works. When Edda returns, STENA MERSEY is expected to be released from the Liverpool route for the final time after over 15 years of service. As previously reported, STENA MERSEY is to be lengthened and rebuilt in Turkey as STENA BALTICA.
The chartered freight vessel SEATRUCK PANORAMA is scheduled to return to the Liverpool route tomorrow, further boosting capacity, Freight demand on the route is increasing, believed to be due to a combination of pre-new year stockpiles running low and hauliers avoiding crossings to Dublin due to the need for additional paperwork and customs checks. SEATRUCK PANORAMA had been covering STENA HIBERNIA’s dry docking in what is a traditionally quiet time of year.
Reports from France indicate that demand for direct routes from Ireland may have reduced in the past few days. Despite some vessels being “fully booked” according to their operators, less than full loads have been witnessed leaving the same vessels in France.
This could be a result of some companies not exercising all of their block bookings. Another factor could be the additional capacity added, with both Stena Line and Irish Ferries sailing from Dublin to Cherbourg this weekend. Has capacity now more than satisfied demand?
Despite this, demand remains strong, and Stena Line still intends to move STENA ESTRID to the Rosslare – Cherbourg route in coming weeks. ‘Estrid’ is expected to remain on the Dublin – Holyhead this week before repeating the round trip she made between Dublin and Cherbourg this weekend.
When STENA ESTRID does move south to Rosslare, STENA HORIZON will move in the opposite direction. It is expected that STENA HORIZON will still operate Dublin – Cherbourg at weekends, subject to demand.