In a landmark development, ferry and port operator Stena Line has sealed a substantial agreement with Peel Ports Group, a major UK port operator, solidifying their operational ties at Heysham Port until the year 2100.
This extended collaboration underscores the strong partnership between the two organisations and aims to enhance their relationship. Notably, Stena Line operates a crucial twice-daily freight service between Belfast and Heysham, serving as a vital trade artery connecting Northern Ireland with the wider United Kingdom.
"Our business on our Belfast-Heysham route has thrived in recent years and is a vital connection for freight transport across the Irish Sea. With the upcoming introduction of our NewMax hybrid ships, this route represents a unique opportunity for Stena Line to offer our freight customers more sustainable transport between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK and will be a key milestone in our sustainability journey," stated Niclas Martensson, CEO of Stena Line.
This announcement follows Stena Line's recent unveiling of a new freight service linking Dublin with Peel Ports' 12 Quays Terminal in Birkenhead. Earlier in the year, both Stena Line and Peel Ports inked a similar accord, securing the 12 Quays Terminal's operations until the close of the century.
Highlighting a commitment to enhancing transport infrastructure, Stena Line has announced a multimillion-pound investment in the Belfast-Heysham route. The addition of two cutting-edge 'NewMax' ferries, set to commence service in 2025, will augment freight capacity by 80%. These hybrid vessels are designed to operate on methanol fuel, marking a pivotal stride in Stena Line's journey toward sustainable shipping.
"Following our signing of the Birkenhead 12 Quays deal earlier this year, this agreement reenforces our long-term commitment to Peel Ports Group and further strengthens our partnership. Heysham is an important hub for our Irish Sea business and we’ve been developing our operations here year on year. We’re excited for the future of the route and to building on its current success," said Carl-Johan Hellner, chief operating officer of Ports & Terminals at Stena Line.
In tandem with Stena Line's initiatives, Peel Ports plans collaborative investments in terminal management and the implementation of a 'smart gate' automatic check-in system, aimed at elevating the overall customer experience at Heysham Port. Additionally, the expansion of trailer parking facilities will accommodate the heightened capacity facilitated by the arrival of the new vessels.
"We have been collaborating successfully with Stena Line for many years and it’s fantastic to establish another long-term agreement with the business," stated David Huck, chief operating officer at Peel Ports Group.