Cruise and Ferry Review - Summer/Spring 2020

1 3 8 The rise of Chinese shipbuilding European operators are increasingly turning to Chinese shipyards for new ferries. Justin Merrigan reports W hen Stena Line contracted CMI Jingling Weihai shipyard to build nine new E-Flexer ferries, industry watchers were concerned that the build programme would be fraught with difficulties and delays, given that the shipyard had no experience in constructing ro-pax ferries. However, fears were allayed when the first vessel, Stena Estrid was delivered on schedule and completed her maiden voyage between Holyhead, Wales and Dublin, Ireland on 13 January, coping admirably with all the winter weather the Irish Sea could hurl at her. “Stena Estrid provides a more environmentally sustainable way to travel with more efficient loading and unloading operations,” says Niclas Mårtensson, Stena Line CEO. “Taking ownership of Stena Estrid is a major milestone for us and is the result of a very significant investment in our Irish Sea operations that reflects our commitment to the region and will ultimately see three of the world’s most modern ferries operating between Ireland and Great Britain.” A second E-Flexer, Stena Edda, will enter Stena Line service between Belfast and Liverpool in time for the summer season. Both E-Flexers are part of Stena RoRo’s nine-ship order from Jinling – five of these ferries will operate under the Stena Line flag, including two 240-metre-long ferries with a total freight capacity of 3,600 lane metres and capacity for 1,200 passengers. One of the other E-Flexers will be chartered to DFDS for 10 years to serve its service between Dover, UK and Calais, France. The remaining three will be on a long- term charter to Brittany Ferries and include Galicia, which will start service between England and Spain in late 2020. She will be followed by Salamanca in spring 2022 and Santoña in 2023. The delivery of the first two E-Flexers – Stena Estrid on time and Stena Edda five days ahead of schedule – is perhaps a sign of China’s determination to show the world just what it can achieve. Almost 60% of the world’s major ferry orders are being handled by Chinese shipbuilders. Jinling has also landed a contract from Grimaldi Group to build two Superstar ro-pax ferries for Finnlines’ Kapellskär- Långnäs-Naantali service between Sweden and Finland. To be delivered in 2023, the ships are 229.5 metres long and have a 33.6 metre beam, giving them capacity for 1,100 passengers and 5,100 lane metres for freight. Hence, they are FERRY ORDER BOOK Stena Estrid is the first of nine E-Flexer ferries that Jinling is building for Stena RoRo Photo: Gary Davies – Maritime Photographic