Stena Line's NewMax Ships Boost Irish Sea Freight
Stena Line will introduce two new hybrid propulsion vessels that run on methanol to meet growing customer demand for capacity and sustainability.
These vessels, named NewMax, will increase capacity on the Belfast-Heysham route by 80%. Construction of the ships will commence shortly, and they will begin operating on the Irish Sea in 2025.
Stena Line, a prominent ferry operator in Europe and the leading operator in the Irish Sea is building two custom freight vessels for its growing Belfast-Heysham freight service. These bespoke vessels are 147 meters long and designed to optimise freight capacity, providing 2,800 lane meters of space, which is an 80% improvement over current ship capacity. Each vessel can accommodate up to 12 passengers and 26 crew members.
The upcoming 'NewMax' vessels will operate on methanol fuel, as Stena Line is committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030 through a shift towards renewable fuels. The company is collaborating closely with methanol suppliers to secure future volumes of e-methanol. Stena Line previously converted the Stena Germanica to run on methanol in 2015, becoming the first ferry operator to do so.
Incorporating technology for electrification has been a key priority during the vessels' construction, allowing for the integration of both battery propulsion and shore power (where available) to future-proof the ships.
Stena Line's CEO, Niclas Mårtensson, stated that the investment in the NewMax vessels demonstrates the company's commitment to sustainability and its efforts to transition to more sustainable fuels. He added that the new vessels would meet the increasing demand from customers and provide significant capacity, allowing logistics operators to expand their businesses in the region.
The tidal systems in Heysham can present challenges, so each vessel will have a customised marine technology setup to increase its resilience to prevailing weather conditions. The ships will be equipped with three bow thrusters to provide optimal manoeuvrability and reliability, and a specially designed engine and propeller configuration will improve their ability to berth in extreme weather.
The construction of the two vessels is set to commence in Weihai, China, under Stena RoRo, and both ships will begin operations on the route in autumn 2025, departing from Stena Line's Belfast port.
Stena Line is the largest ferry operator on the Irish Sea, with the most extensive fleet and a diverse selection of routes. These include combined passenger and freight services from Belfast to Cairnryan and Liverpool, Dublin to Holyhead, and Rosslare to Fishguard, as well as a freight-only route from Belfast to Heysham, offering up to 238 weekly sailing options between Britain and Ireland.
Furthermore, Stena Line provides a direct service from Rosslare to Cherbourg and will upgrade its ship, Stena Vision, for this route in summer 2023, resulting in 12 sailings per week, making it the most frequent service from Ireland to France.
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Source: Stena Line