Stena Line shifts Belfast to Heysham service during £15m revamp
Stena Line will relocate its Belfast to Heysham service from today ahead of the start of a £15m upgrade to Victoria terminal two.
Belfast Harbour is embarking on the redevelopment in preparation for the arrival of Stena's new e-flexer series next spring.
Victoria terminal two handles more than 200,000 freight units on ferries between Belfast and Liverpool each year.
The new Chinese-built boats will be capable of carrying 20% more freight, but will require new infrastructure to dock in Belfast.
Co Down firm Graham has been awarded the contract which is expected to sustain around 100 jobs from the construction phase through to the installation of new ramp infrastructure.
The departure dock will remain in Belfast, however, the work has prompted Stena to switch the service to Albert Quay, next to Clarendon Dock, for six months.
The Swedish ferry company said the move would minimise customer disruption and inconvenience while the work is being carried out.
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Until recently used as a store for freight containers, Belfast Harbour has cleared a large area at Albert Dock and treated it to a facelift in preparation for its new use.
Anna Breen, Stena Line's freight commercial manger for the Irish Sea north, said: "While we fully appreciate the slight inconvenience that this could cause, Albert Dock/Ballast Quay is a facility which Stena Line has used before and we are very familiar with it.
"We will do all we can to minimise any possible inconvenience to our customers.
"As we invest and grow our business on the Belfast to Liverpool service, the new e-flexers will provide an additional 20% freight capacity.
"We are hopeful this will provide even greater business development opportunities for our customers in the years ahead," Ms Breen added.