Stena Line has concluded that its move to Halmstad has been a success. The company switched the Swedish port for its service to Grenaa from Varberg last February. Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the ferry operator reports that freight volumes have risen by 15% on the Halmstad to Grenaa route since the switch.
Despite the move to Halmstad, Stena has continued to use the same vessel, STENA NAUTICA, on the route. Originally built as DSB’s NIELS KLIM, the ship passed to Stena in 1991 and was chartered to B&I Line the following year.
Having been renamed ISLE OF INNISFREE by B&I, the ship was returned to Stena in 1995. The Swedish company then deployed her under their Lion Ferry brand as LION KING on the Varberg / Halmstad – Grenaa route.
LION KING survived the demise of the Lion Ferry brand and Stena’s withdrawal from Halmstad, adopting her current name during 1996. During 2002, STENA NAUTICA underwent significant rebuilding work at Öresundsvarvet in Landskrona to increase her vehicle capacity. This involved removing her lower passenger deck and replacing it with a vehicle deck.
The result of the work was a more than doubling of STENA NAUTICA’s freight capacity to 1,235 lane metres. However, STENA NAUTICA remains one of the smallest vessels in the Stena Line fleet in terms of freight capacity. Her passenger capacity is also low compared to most of the fleet. She can now accommodate just 643 passengers now rather than 2,000.
Should traffic continue to build, Stena Line has previously stated that it would consider adding a second ship to the Halmstad – Grenaa route. When the route was opened, the company stated that it planned to double freight volumes within five years.
One option for an additional ship could be STENA VINGA. ‘Vinga’ is presently sailing on the route until March 10 as STENA NAUTICA is in dry dock.