Stena Line confirm new larger Belfast to Liverpool vessel

Stena Line have today confirmed the replacement vessel for STENA PRECISION on the Belfast to Liverpool (Birkenhead) route.
STENA FORERUNNER seen fresh from her refit, 24.07.18. Copyright © Rob de VIsser.

STENA FORERUNNER seen fresh from refit, 24.07.18. Copyright © Rob de Visser

Stena Line have today confirmed the replacement vessel for STENA PRECISION on the Belfast to Liverpool (Birkenhead) route. The 2003-built freighter STENA FORERUNNER will transfer from the Harwich to Rotterdam (Europoort) route in late-August.  With capacity for some 3,000 lane metres of freight, the Chinese-built vessel represents a significant increase in capacity from the vessel she replaces.  She will join STENA SCOTIA at Belfast which just last week was confirmed as transferring from the same route to replace STENA PERFORMER on the Heysham run, for refit cover at least.  Both STENA FORERUNNER and STENA SCOTIA are fitted with exhaust scrubbers for cleaner exhaust emissions, meaning they are already compliant with future legislation covering the Irish Sea.  At 195.3m long, STENA FORERUNNER is almost 9 metres longer than the core RoPax vessels on the Belfast to Liverpool route, STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY.

<strong>STENA FORERUNNER</strong>. Copyright © Rob de VIsser.
STENA FORERUNNER. Copyright © Rob de VIsser.

STENA FORERUNNER is one of three Stena 4-Runner MkII vessels built for Stena RoRo in China. Her design is an enlarged version of the Stena 4-Runner Mk I class, of which STENA CARRIER, which recently provided relief cover for P&O on the Dublin and Liverpool route, is a member.  The transfer of STENA FORERUNNER to Belfast from the busy UK to Holland routes highlights just how important the Belfast – Liverpool service, which has experienced growth of 6% this year, has become to Stena Line since its acquisition from DFDS in 2010/11.  STENA FORERUNNER is expected to arrive in Belfast in late-August in order to release STENA PRECISION for dry docking prior to her return to owners Seatruck.  As a result weekly freight capacity on the Belfast to Liverpool route will increase by almost 10%. STENA FORERUNNER will be replaced early in 2019 by a vessel with similar capacity in order to allow her to return to the North Sea.

Stena Line’s CEO Niclas Mårtensson said: “Demand for freight capacity from Belfast continues to increase and we believe it is vital that Stena Line provides the necessary capacity and frequency to enable that expansion to flourish. Stena Line will continue to operate seven vessels on its three routes to and from Belfast serving Cairnryan, Heysham and Liverpool and the introduction of the Stena Forerunner will provide us with greater capacity and flexibility to service market demand.

STENA SCOTIA . Copyright © Rob de Visser.
STENA SCOTIA . Copyright © Rob de Visser.

Paul Grant, Stena Line’s trade director, said: “This latest investment by Stena Line yet again highlights our commitment to the freight market. This year we’re experiencing strong growth of 6 per cent on our Belfast-Liverpool route.

“Future plans for the introduction of two new build ferries on this service during spring 2020 and early 2021, combine to demonstrate a significant long-term commitment to the region by Stena Line.

“Belfast is now firmly established as the preferred hub for Northern Ireland freight. Our unique ability to offer reliability, frequency and choice of routes for the accompanied and unaccompanied segments from a single location is a big advantage for the freight industry.”

Technical data

NameSTENA FORERUNNER
IMO Number9227259
ShipyardDalian Shipyard, Dalian, China
Yard Number#RO123-3
Completed2003
ClassStena 4-Runner Mk II
Length195.3m
Breadth25.6m
Draught6.6m
Gross Tonnage24,688
Capacity3,000 lane metres of freight

(1,190lm on main deck, 1,280lm on weather deck, and 530lm on the tank top)

12 drivers (all in berths)

FlagThe Netherlands (Hoek van Holland)

 

Original Press Release:

Stena Line adds extra freight capacity to its Belfast – Liverpool service

Introduction of larger vessel will provide much needed additional freight capacity

STENA FORERUNNER. Stena Line.
STENA FORERUNNER. Stena Line.

In response to growing market demand, Stena Line is planning to upweight its freight capacity on the popular Belfast – Liverpool route. This month (August 2018), Stena Line will initially deploy the 3,000 lane metre Stena Forerunner vessel before replacing it with a similar ship early in 2019 at which point the Stena Forerunner will return to service in the North Sea.

Stena Line’s CEO Niclas Mårtensson said: “Demand for freight capacity from Belfast continues to increase and we believe it is vital that Stena Line provides the necessary capacity and frequency to enable that expansion to flourish. Stena Line will continue to operate seven vessels on its three routes to and from Belfast serving Cairnryan, Heysham and Liverpool and the introduction of the Stena Forerunner will provide us with greater capacity and flexibility to service market demand.

Paul Grant, Stena Line Trade Director commented: “This latest investment by Stena Line yet again highlights our commitment to the freight market. This year we’re experiencing strong growth of 6% on our Belfast – Liverpool route. Future plans for the introduction of two new build ferries on this service during spring 2020 and early 2021, combine to demonstrate a significant long-term commitment to the region by Stena Line. Belfast is now firmly established as the preferred hub for Northern Ireland freight. Stena Line’s unique ability to offer reliability, frequency and choice of routes for the accompanied and unaccompanied segments from a single location is a big advantage for the freight industry.”

When Stena Line initially deploys the 3,000 lane metre Stena Forerunner on the Belfast-Liverpool route it will increase weekly freight capacity on the service by almost 10%. Stena Line will replace it with a similar ship early in 2019 at which point the Stena Forerunner will return to service in the North Sea.
Stena Line is currently the largest ferry operator on the Irish Sea, offering the biggest fleet and the widest choice of routes between Britain to Ireland including Belfast to Liverpool and Heysham, Belfast to Cairnryan, Dublin to Holyhead and Rosslare to Fishguard routes, a total of 232 weekly sailing options between Britain and Ireland. Stena Line also offers a direct service from Rosslare to Cherbourg with three return crossings a week.

Source: Stena Line Press Release (external link)

Additional reading

Stena Line Press Release (external link)

A look inside: STENA PRECISION

Vessel Profile:  STENA PERFORMER and STENA PRECISION

Irish News report: https://www.irishnews.com/business/2018/08/01/news/stena-line-adds-extra-freight-capacity-to-its-belfast-liverpool-service-1396861/

 

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