Swedish-owned Stena Line, one of Europe’s largest ferry and port operators, has operated from 12 Quays, Birkenhead since 2011. The new deal will see them continue to operate there for another 77 years, until 2100.
Stena Line operates six routes and twelve vessels across their Irish route network. Birkenhead has been a key focus for investment in recent years.
In 2020 and 2021 Stena Line launched two new E-Flexer ferries on their Birkenhead to Belfast service, STENA EDDA and STENA EMBLA. These brand-new state-of-the-art ferries increased passenger and freight capacity on the route to Belfast by 33%.
The arrival of the new E-flexers seen the South ramp at 12 Quays converted to twin deck loading.
In recent times Stena Line has made further investments with the recent purchase of two sites adjacent to the 12 Quays Terminal. These sites provide additional freight storage for its freight customers as they continue to expand their businesses there.
A mutually beneficial partnership
Niclas Martensson, CEO of Stena Line, says:
“After 12 successful years in 12 Quays our business in Birkenhead continues to flourish year-after-year. This deal is a sign of our long-term commitment to Birkenhead and Peel Ports, with whom we have a very strong partnership. We will continue to make significant investments to increase our services to our customers across the Irish Sea.”Stena Line press release 17 February 2023 https://news.cision.com/stena-line-ukie/r/stena-line-and-peel-ports-sign-major-new-deal-at-birkenhead-for-port-operations-until-the-year-2100,c3717514
Carl-Johan Hellner, Chief Operating Officer Ports & Terminals, Stena Line, commented;
“This deal signifies the strengthening of our partnership with Peel Ports. We have a long-term commitment to our Irish Sea customers, and together we will continue to provide value and to enable continued growth for their businesses here in Birkenhead and across this very important region for us.”Stena Line press release 17 February 2023 https://news.cision.com/stena-line-ukie/r/stena-line-and-peel-ports-sign-major-new-deal-at-birkenhead-for-port-operations-until-the-year-2100,c3717514
David Huck, Chief Operating Officer at Peel Ports Group added;
“We have built a highly successful partnership with Stena Line over the years for the developing of services across the Irish Sea, and we are delighted this long-term agreement reaffirms our commitment to enable further investment into Birkenhead and the Mersey cluster.”Stena Line press release 17 February 2023 https://news.cision.com/stena-line-ukie/r/stena-line-and-peel-ports-sign-major-new-deal-at-birkenhead-for-port-operations-until-the-year-2100,c3717514
The value of the deal has not been disclosed.
A ground breaking terminal
The 12 Quays terminal was opened in 2002 at a cost of £25m. It was built to serve Norse Merchant Ferries services from Belfast and Dublin. Until then, services from Belfast and Dublin had used terminals within the Liverpool docks system. This added around an hour to each journey due to the need to lock in and lock out.
Maersk-owned Norfolkline purchased Norse Merchant Ferries in 2005. This seen the familiar Maersk “star” appear on the ships docking at 12 Quays.
Five years later, in 2010, Norfolkline was acquired by another Danish shipping giant DFDS.
Despite renamings and some repaintings, DFDS’s time on the Birkenhead – Belfast route was to be short-lived. In December 2010, DFDS announced a deal to sell their Belfast – Birkenhead and Belfast – Heysham routes to Stena Line. The following year the routes moved to the Stena Line brand.
Today the route is served by the E-Flexers STENA EDDA, STENA EMBLA and the ro-ro STENA FORETELLER. There are up to 14 passenger and freight sailings offered each way per week with up to 5 freight only sailings also offered.