Stena Line seals major 77-year deal with Peel Ports to operate at Port Heysham

Stena Line ferry company has sealed a major deal with Peel Ports Group, a UK port operator, to operate from Heysham Port for the next 77-years until 2100.

The value of the deal has not been disclosed.

The UK port operator, which is in collaboration with Stena Line, plans to invest in new terminal management, and a ‘smart gate’ automatic check-in system to improve customer experience at the port, and will increase the parking for trailers to accommodate the additional capacity of the new vessels.

Furthermore, the parties will aim to secure the shore infrastructure to provide additional electrical capacity to facilitate the future goal of powering the new ships by green shore power.

The Swedish ferry company runs a twice daily freight service from Belfast-Heysham providing a vital trade corridor between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

The news comes on the back of Stena Line’s announcement last week of a new freight service between Dublin and Peel Ports’ 12 Quays Terminal in Birkenhead.

Earlier this year, Stena Line and Peel Ports signed a similar agreement for the 12 Quays Terminal to operate from the Port until the end of the century.

This year, Stena Line announced it is making a multi-million-pound investment in the Belfast-Heysham route with two new-build ‘NewMax’ ferries, which will boost freight capacity by 80%.

With the first vessel due to begin on the route in 2025, these hybrid ferries will be equipped to operate on methanol fuel marking a key milestone in Stena Line’s roadmap to sustainable shipping.

Niclas Martensson, chief executiveof Stena Line said, “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.”

Carl-Johan Hellner, chief operating officer ports & terminals, Stena Line added, “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.”