Stena signs deal for four new fuel-efficient ferries
Ferry giant Stena, which sails to Liverpool and Cairnryan from Belfast, has signed a deal for four new ferries in a multi-million pound investment.
The board of the Swedish firm is expected to approve the order for the new ferries, which can carry 1,000 passengers each, by the end of this month.
And the RoPax vessels are due to be built by a shipyard in China, before they are delivered into service in 2019 and 2020.
Stena also has an option to buy another four of the vessels.
The company currently has 35 vessels on 22 routes in Northern Europe. It runs two "super-fast" ferries from Belfast to Cairnryan in Scotland, as well as two others sailing to Liverpool.
Managing director Carl-Johan Hagman said: "We are very pleased that Stena have signed a contract for four vessels with an option for another four.
"During the course of the past 24 months our engineering staff have managed to develop a design that is not only 50% larger than today's standard RoPax vessels, but more importantly, incorporates the emission reduction and efficiency initiatives that have been developed throughout the Stena Group during the past years.
"These ships will be the most fuel efficient ferries in the world and will set a new industry standard when it comes to operational performance, emissions and cost competitiveness, positioning Stena Line to support its customers in the next decades."
RoPax ferries are designed to carry both freight and passengers.
Stena Line chairman Dan Sten Olsson added: "We foresee a continued demand for growth for short sea services in Northern Europe and in many other parts of the world.
"Ferry transportation will play an essential part in shaping tomorrow's logistics infrastructure if we are to have sustainable societies. Not only is transportation on sea the most environmentally efficient way of moving goods, it is also infrastructure that provides reliable and speedy logistics with very limited public cost."