UK-based Stena Line is set to deploy the first of its three RoPax ferries currently under construction by AVIC Shipyard in China for the Holyhead-Dublin route taking place in early 2020.

The other two vessels are expected to serve the Liverpool-Belfast route in the UK by 2020 and early 2021, respectively.

They are being built as part of a contract signed between Stena Line’s parent company Stena and AVIC Shipyard last year for a new generation of RoPax ferry vessels, Stena E-Flexer.

The contract includes the construction of six vessels, which are expected to be delivered during 2020 and 2021.

Three of the vessels from the order will be chartered out to external companies by Stena Line’s sister company Stena RoRo.

Stena Line CEO Niclas Mårtensson said: “Our Irish Sea routes are strategically very important to Stena Line and our customer, with the freight market between Ireland and the UK experiencing significant growth over the last five years.

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“The deployment of three new vessels is a tangible example of our strategic growth plan for the Irish Sea.”

“That’s why we have invested almost £200m in our ports and vessels across the region to improve and grow our capacity to offer a frequent, reliable and high-quality service for our freight and travel customers.

“The deployment of three new vessels is a tangible example of our strategic growth plan for the Irish Sea.”

Stena Line’s RoPax ferry will be designed to carry 1,000 passengers, 120 cars, as well as 3,100 freight lane metres of capacity to offer four daily sailings with an estimated crossing time of around 3.5 hours.

The vessel will be 214.5m long, 27.8m wide and will feature a 6.4m draught capability. Powered by two V12 four-stroke diesel engines, it will be able to cruise at a speed of 22k.