Following the dramatic COVID related drop in freight volumes, we have been forced to remove one freight ship from our Belfast hub which has resulted in reduced capacity and frequency.
During the summer months, we have seen an increase in freight demand and anticipates that extra capacity is required for the traditionally busy autumn period as well as the expected increase in pre-Brexit trade activity.
Adding the Seatruck Panorama as a seventh ship to our Belfast operations will help us increase frequency, capacity and give us greater operational flexibility. This extra ship will be capable of operating to Liverpool and Heysham thus ensuring that we can better match demand and the needs of customers.
The freight-only ship is expected to start service on 2 September and will make 10 sailings weekly between Belfast and Liverpool/Heysham. The addition of the Seatruck Panorama on the Northern Ireland to England corridor will increase freight capacity by 28% and frequency will rise from 46 to 56 crossings weekly compared to the present.
In January 2021, we will further boost freight capacity when the newly built Stena Embla is added to our Belfast to Liverpool service. Stena Embla will replace the smaller Stena Mersey and will join its sister ships Stena Edda and Stena Estrid in what is a significant upgrading of freight and passenger services across Stena Line’s Irish Sea routes.
Despite all of the challenges we and our customers are facing, we continue to develop our Belfast business hub with these exciting additions to our fleet. We remain committed to support the freight industry to the best of our abilities as we has done throughout the Coronavirus pandemic to date, helping to keep vital supply lines open.
Freight capacity: 1,830 lane metre with 6.8 m free height on main deck for double stacking containers or project cargo.
Freight drivers: 12 Freight drivers in single berth cabins.