Norwegian shipping company Fjord Line has contracted Australia-based Austal Ships to build a new high-speed catamaran ferry, which will be used to improve services connecting the route between Kristiansand, Norway, and Hirtshals, Denmark.

The new vessel is scheduled to enter service by 2020, and will have the capacity to carry 1,200 passengers and more than 400 cars.

It is expected to enable Fjord Line to double its capacity and launch new freight services along the Kristiansand-Hirtshals route.

The ferry will also feature a tax-free shop on-board, which will offer various food items and refreshments for guests during their journey.

The 109m-long, 30.5m-wide ship will be twice the size of the vessels currently deployed by the company on the Kristiansand-Hirtshals route.

Specific zones for children will also be featured on-board the ferry, which is expected to offer a new technological standard and environmental benefits to Fjord Line.

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Fjord Line CEO Rickard Ternblom said: “During the development phase, comfort has been important to us.

“The new catamaran will be the most relaxing and comfortable mode of travel, as well as being the fastest route between Norway and Denmark.

“With a top speed of 40k, the travel time will still be two hours and 15 minutes.”

Fjord Line transported an estimated 26,000 passengers and 7,400 cars on the Kristiansand-Hirtshals route between 2014 and 2016.

"The new catamaran will be the most relaxing and comfortable mode of travel, as well as being the fastest route between Norway and Denmark."

The company conducted 576 voyages on the route last year, transporting approximately 213,000 passengers.

Ternblom added: “We are continuously working on developing all our products and offerings from Bergen, Stavanger, Kristiansand, Langesund and Sandefjord.

“That also means upgrades on today's ships.”

Fjord Line currently provides maritime transport services between Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

Image: Rendering of Fjord Line’s new vessel. Photo: courtesy of Fjord Line.