Feature, Freight News, Sea

Fast footwork from Stena as Brexit prompts Irish Sea rethink

[ January 14, 2021   //   ]

Stena Line has redeployed the latest addition to its fleet, the Stena Embla will make to the Rosslare-Cherbourg service and not the Belfast-Liverpool route as originally planned. It said the decision was due to “the current Brexit related shift for direct routes and increasing customer demand”./

The deployment would however be temporary, and further changes are expected soon. A Stena Line spokesman said that it was likely that an E-Flexer vessel would however, be deployed to the Cherbourg route long term, though not necessarily the Embla.

Carryings on Liverpool-Belfast have been affected by the introduction of customs clearance from 1 January, and volumes have been depressed at least temporarily while the trade gets to grips with the new requirements.

The Embla’s first sailing will be the 20.25 departure from Rosslare on Thursday 1 January. Stena Embla will make three weekly return trips between Rosslare and Cherbourg, alongside the Stena Foreteller giving 12 crossing per week between Ireland and the Continent.

Stena Embla has 3,100 freight lane meters capacity and will increase freight capacity on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route by 20% and provide 60% more cabins for freight drivers.  She is the third E-Flexer ferry to be commissioned for Stena Line’s Irish Sea routes in the last 12 months, as part of a €400m investment.

Irish Sea trade director Paul Grant (pictured, below), said: “Brexit has created an increase in the demand for direct freight routes, and in particular driver accompanied freight, so the addition of Stena Embla, whilst temporary, plus the recently introduced Stena Foreteller to the route will provide a welcome addition for our customers at this time. “Stena Line has always prided itself on being flexible when it comes to the efficient deployment of its fleet.  Having very experienced onshore and onboard teams means that we are able to respond to market and customer demands rapidly.  At present we are currently reviewing our Rosslare-Cherbourg operations and will keep engaging with our customers to identify the most appropriate Stena Line operation for the route.”

Rosslare Europort general manager, Glenn Carr, said: “We warmly welcome Stena Embla to Rosslare for its maiden in-service voyage. We have been working closely with Stena Line to facilitate the unprecedented demand for capacity directly to and from the Continent, and the boost in capacity Stena Embla delivers has been mobilised swiftly through our close cooperation. On behalf of Irish industry and all of our customers and stakeholders, we thank Stena Line for their ongoing commitment to Rosslare Europort.”