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Stena to Boost Belfast Capacity in Response to Freight Demand

Northern Ireland’s biggest ferry operator Stena Line has announced eight additional sailings over three days in response to freight demand.  Additionally, the third ship on the Belfast – Liverpool (Birkenhead) route will return on Monday.  

STENA EMBLA is also expected to return to Belfast this weekend after a spell covering for STENA HORIZON on the Rosslare to Cherbourg route.

STENA EDDA leaves Birkenhead for Belfast on the morning of January 21, 2021. Copyright © David Faerder.
STENA EDDA leaves Birkenhead for Belfast on the morning of January 21, 2021. Copyright © David Faerder.

The additional sailings are as follows:

Saturday 23rd January

Belfast to Cairnryan: 1930hrs
Cairnryan to Belfast: 1930hrs

Belfast to Heysham: 2030hrs
Heysham to Belfast: 2030hrs

Sunday 24th January

Belfast to Birkenhead: 1030hrs
Birkenhead to Belfast: 1030hrs

Monday 25th January

Belfast to Cairnryan: 0330hrs
Cairnryan to Belfast: 0345hrs

With STENA HIBERNIA returning to the Belfast – Heysham route following dry-dock, SEATRUCK PANORAMA will return to the Birkenhead route on Monday.  

SEATRUCK PANORAMA. Copyright © Scott Mackey..
SEATRUCK PANORAMA. Copyright © Scott Mackey..

She makes her return to the “shoulder” service with a 15:15 departure from Belfast on Monday.  This means up to three freight departures in each direction per day will be offered on the route again.

Stena’s Busiest Freight Port

Belfast is Stena Line’s busiest port in terms of freight movements.  Some 542,000 freight vehicles passed through the port in 2019 on Stena Line services.  The entire Stena Line organisation carried 2.1m freight vehicles in same year, making Belfast the busiest freight port for the company.

STENA HORIZON passes fleet-mate STENA SUPERFAST VII outbound to Birkenhead on the morning of New Years Day 2019 while providing dry dock cover for STENA LAGAN. Copyright © Scott Mackey.
STENA HORIZON passes fleet-mate STENA SUPERFAST VII outbound to Birkenhead on the morning of New Years Day 2019 while providing dry dock cover for STENA LAGAN. Copyright © Scott Mackey.

Rosslare Changes

STENA HORIZON, which has been undergoing maintenance in Belfast, is due to leave for Rosslare early on Saturday to take up service to Cherbourg on Saturday night.  

The sailings on the route between Rosslare and Cherbourg this Saturday and Sunday have been retimed.  This is likely as a result of the additional round trip being offered by STENA ESTRID between Dublin and Rosslare this weekend.

STENA EUROPE, October 2019. Copyright © Scott Mackey.
STENA EUROPE. The veteran ferry is currently only making one round trip between Rosslare and Fishguard as a result of reduced freight demand. Copyright © Scott Mackey.

Stena Line’s Rosslare-Fishguard route continues to have one round trip a day instead of the usual two. This reduction looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.

GB-Dublin Freight Recovering Post-Brexit?

According to Stena Line on Twitter, freight going through Holyhead is currently 50% down on last year. This is an increase on the previously published figure of 70% down, suggesting that freight volumes are also recovering on the central corridor post-Brexit.

Steven Tarbox

Steven is a former retail professional and a ferry writer and photographer. He created NI Ferry Site as a web design project in 2014 to be a news and information source for everyone with an interest in ferries, with a particular focus on Northern Ireland. Steven is the editor of the website and looks after all of the technical aspects.
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