Stena Line Agrees 50-year North Sea Port Deal

By: Steven Tarbox
An artist’s impression of the new Stena Line operated Eastern RoRo Terminal (IERRT) at Immingham. Image: Associated British Ports.
An artist’s impression of the new Stena Line operated Eastern RoRo Terminal (IERRT) at Immingham. Image: Associated British Ports.

Agreement worth £100m signed with Associated British Ports

Swedish ferry operator Stena Line has signed an agreement with port owner ABP to develop a new ferry terminal at Immingham.  The deal will commit Stena Line to the Humberside harbour for 50 years and is worth £100m.  

The brand-new facility, previously announced as the Eastern RoRo Terminal, will be developed by ABP next to the outer harbour on the eastern side of the port and operated by Stena Line.  It is expected to be operational by 2025 and a public consultation is already underway.  A pre-application has been lodged with the planning inspectorate.

STENA FORERUNNER. Image: Scott Mackey
STENA FORERUNNER is one of two vessels currently serving Stena Line’s Immingham – Rotterdam (Europoort) route.. Image: Scott Mackey

Business Live reports that ABP intends to apply for a Development Consent Order early this summer and that the new “nationally significant” terminal will have four berths.  As with the facility currently used by DFDS, the berths at the Eastern RoRo terminal will be in the River Humber itself and not behind locks.

Europoort Terminal Move

Earlier this month Stena Line relocated its Rotterdam Europoort freight service to Immingham from nearby Killingholme.  As a result, the company also became a terminal operator at Immingham.  Stena Line has not revealed any plans to relocate its other service from Killingholme (to Hoek van Holland) to Immingham, however.  

Niclas Martensson, Chief Executive Officer of Stena Line said: 

“We are very pleased to announce that we will now take the next steps in the strategic vision for our routes between the UK and Continental Europe. Our freight levels are at record levels and are continuing to increase, so we want to build on this success and provide additional services to our most important business needs, those of our customers, with the development of a brand new terminal and berths at the Port of Immingham.” He added: “Stena Line is pledging a significant long-term commitment that will bring a substantial boost 

to the region’s economy in terms of jobs and revenue. We look forward to working with Associated British Ports to develop this exciting project.”–100m-deal-for-new-ferry-terminal-at-the-port-of-imming,c3487614
An aerial view of the port of Immingham.  Image © David Lee Photography Ltd (courtesy of Stena Line).
An aerial view of the port of Immingham. Image © David Lee Photography Ltd (courtesy of Stena Line).

Simon Bird, Humber Director, Associated British Ports, said:

“We’re delighted to welcome this new deal with Stena as it underlines the fact that ABP in the Humber is continuing to go from strength to strength. Stena will be joining a growing family of commercial partners who are choosing to use ABP’s ports in the Humber which have fantastic facilities and connections for traders across Europe and beyond. Our track record in recent years of investing in new infrastructure is making the Humber the place to be for trading links between the Midlands and North of England, and the rest of the World.”

Brexit Leads to North Sea Freight Growth

Neither Stena Line nor ABP has stated whether the new facility will be for the exclusive use of Stena Line or available to other operators such as DFDS which is also a current Immingham user.  Immingham is presently the UK’s busiest port by tonnage.  Stena has already confirmed that its Europoort route will move to the new facility, which will be capable of handling larger vessels, once it opens.  

Stena Line has seen impressive growth on its North Sea freight routes, including a 28% year-on-year increase in unaccompanied freight.  With the company also seeing new trends such as Polish hauliers using North Sea freight routes instead of the short sea routes to Dover, growth on North Sea freight routes is expected to continue.  Other operators have also reported freight growth on North Sea routes following the UK’s departure from the EU, with unaccompanied freight growth particularly strong.

As well as being one of Europe’s largest ferry companies, Stena Line is also a significant U.K. ferry port operator.  It already operates ports at Holyhead, Loch Ryan Port, and Fishguard.

Gothenburg and Gdynia Moves Also Ahead For Stena

The Immingham announcement is the latest in a number of port developments for Stena Line.  Earlier this month the company announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding to relocate its Gothenburg operations from the city centre to a new facility at Arendal.  Stena’s Arendal terminal is expected to be operational by 2027 ahead of the arrival of the zero emission STENA ELEKTRA ferries which are expected to be in service by 2030.

An artist's impression of Stena Line's new Gothenburg terminal at Arendal.  Image: Stena Line.
An artist’s impression of Stena Line’s new Gothenburg terminal at Arendal. Image: Stena Line.

In recent years Stena Line has also relocated its port at Nynashamn (near Stockholm) to a new purpose-built facility and moved its service linking Grenaa and Varberg to Halmstad.  The company also plans to move to a new terminal in Gdynia. These changes mirror earlier moves on Stena’s Irish Sea routes where terminals at Stranraer, Dun Laoghaire, Larne, Belfast, and Fleetwood were replaced by nearby alternatives capable of handling larger and more efficient vessels.

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