Swedish ferry operator Stena Line has announced that the construction has started for the two new larger E-Flexer ferries in Weihai, China.

The order for the vessels was placed in 2018, while the delivery is scheduled for 2022.

The third E-Flexer vessel Stena Embla will be delivered on time, according to the company. It is expected to operate on the Belfast-Liverpool route from January next year.

The company said that it did not allow the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic affect the modernisation of its European fleet of ferries.

The last two vessels are expected to be delivered in 2022 and are a part of the E-Flexer series that was ordered from Stena RoRo.

CMI Jinling Weihai Shipyard in China is responsible for the construction of the vessels.

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Stena Estrid and Stena Edda, the first two ships of the initial three that were built, started operations on the Irish Sea.

The two E-Flexer vessels will be 240m-long and will have a load capacity of 3,600 length metres.

The vessels have double the number of cabins and beds, 30% increased passenger capacity and extra 15% cargo capacity compared to the first three vessels.

Stena Line CEO Niclas Mårtensson said: “Despite a tough time during the Covid-19 pandemic, we have shown how important Stena Line is to linking Europe’s freight and passenger transport and vital supply lines.

“We believe in continued growth and demand in all our markets and with the new ferries in place, we will be well equipped for the future.”

In November 2018, the construction of the third E-Flexer RoPax ship commenced at Avic Weihai Shipyard in China.