New Stena Edda ferry maiden voyage from new Birkenhead Quay

10 March 2020

A £17m upgrade at the Twelve Quays ferry terminal was used for the first time (Monday 09th March) by Stena Edda - the next generation of green vessels - used by Stena Line. The maiden voyage marks the beginning of a new era that aims to strengthen passenger and cargo travel between Birkenhead and Belfast.

The joint project between Peel Ports and Stena Line has seen the dock expand to reduce turnaround times, increase route capacity and further improve safety by implementing one-way traffic. The new linkspan constructed at Twelve Quays allows Stena Line’s new ferries to load and unload simulataneously from both upper and lower decks. The new investment in ferries and port upgrades is part of a £200m+ investment into the region as part of a 25-year commitment.

David Huck, Managing Director – Group Ports from Peel Ports said: “This is the end of more than two years’ work to make a heavy investment in the infrastructure at Twelve Quays and offer enhanced berthing facilities for larger, more modern vessels. It also marks another milestone in our long-term partnership with Stena Line where we have worked together to improve our shared offering for freight and travel customers.”

Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Trade Director (Irish Sea North) said: “We’re already the largest ferry operator on the Irish Sea and this is another vote of confidence in the future of our operations between Liverpool and Belfast. The route has seen an increase of freight by over a third in recent years and 2019 was a record year with over 225,000 freight units. So it is great to have the the extra capacity of the new bigger vessels, which also bring a significant upgrade in service standards and facilities.”

Stena Line offers the widest choice of routes between Britain and Ireland including Liverpool and Heysham to Belfast, Cairnryan to Belfast, Holyhead to Dublin and Fishguard to Rosslare routes, with a total of 232 weekly sailing options.

Stena’s new E-Flexer ships are larger than today’s standard RoPax vessels and will provide freight capacity of 3,100 lane metres and the space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers and crew. They are also highly fuel efficient to help reduce emissions, feeding in to Peel Ports’ goal of providing sustainable ports for the future.

Work carried out by Peel Ports includes a new multi-level berth to accommodate double-deck, simultaneous vehicle access to and from vessels as well as bigger berthing facilities for importers and exporters to take advantage of the port’s connectivity.  

Drone footage of some of the key elements of the structure being lifted into place can be viewed on YouTube HERE.