New orders for
the next generation of
flexible RoPax vessels
Stena RoRo builds and charters out RoRo and RoPax vessels, and is an important link in society’s chain by enabling efficient and sustainable freight transport. RoRo vessels carry wheeled cargo, primarily lorries, creating bridges at sea all over the world. On the RoPax vessels, load capacity is combined with all of the facilities offered by modern vessels to their passengers. Currently, a number of vessels are chartered out to operators around the world; both to Stena Line and to external parties.
Summary of 2021
Good demand for freight partly offset the pandemic’s effects on passenger traffic for Stena RoRo. The year’s most important events included three new orders for E-Flexers – Stena’s RoPax vessels, which set a new sustainability standard in the industry.
THE PANDEMIC AND BREXIT AFFECTED THE MARKET
Two strong trends characterised the market in 2021. One trend was the pandemic, which continued to slow down demand for passenger vessels, while the freight market strengthened as a consequence of new consumption patterns based on e-commerce. The second was Brexit, which has led to new routes for ferry traffic based on a changed market.
“Since we charter out RoPax vessels that are primarily designed to carry wheeled freight, with passengers as a supplement, we were able to benefit from the fluctuations in the market towards this segment,” comments Per Westling, MD of Stena RoRo.
“This resulted in stable growth. Brexit has also meant that we have seen increased demand for freight from Ireland that circumnavigates the UK and passes directly to the continent, with greater opportunities to charter out large vessels,” Per Westling continues.
The result was burdened by Stena RoRo taking over two older ferries from Stena Line, with associated cost increases. In total, this means that Stena RoRo reports a zero result for the year.
Customised vessel solutions
Activities include the construction of new vessels, and the design and further development of existing vessels, in order to provide customised transport solutions for customers. Stena RoRo has been successful in these operations over the years, thanks to an active “Stenability” strategy of acquiring vessels at competitive prices, creating value through development, and achieving gains in the right market conditions.
The company’s expertise, market knowledge and creativity have been used to find completely new employment for Stena Saga, which was taken over from Stena Line. Stena Saga has been converted into floating accommodation and office premises for personnel and is used in conjunction with the construction of a new airport in the Philippines, located on a new artificial island.
The year also saw delivery of Stena Baltica and Stena Scandica, which in a unique conversion project have each been extended by 36 metres.
During the year, Stena RoRo also achieved the multi-year assignment of assisting the Crowley Maritime Corporation shipping company in the procurement of new RoRo vessels.
Battery operation and new fuels
Stena RoRo has seen a significant market shift in recent years. Today, virtually all customers require hybrid solutions based on new fuels and battery operation when they order new vessels. Under new EU regulations, the entire life cycle of the vessels will need to be taken into account. For this development to really gain momentum, however, the infrastructure for electrical operation needs to be expanded.
Good demand for E-flexers
Stena RoRo’s most extensive investment in the development of the new generation of RoPax vessels, called Stena E-Flexers, is a good response to the market demand. These vessels set a completely new sustainability standard in the RoPax segment. They offer improved cost and energy efficiency, as they are up to 30 per cent more fuel-efficient. The engines can also run on different types of fuel, such as biogas, ammonia and hydrogen. Some of the vessels also have large battery packs installed, which enable them to operate on electric power into and within port. These can run at 17.5 knots on batteries alone.
During the year, a further three out of a total of 12 E-Flexers were ordered and will be delivered by 2025. Two of the twelve were delivered in 2021.
“We note a clear increase in interest from our customers in flexible ship operation. This applies to orders for new vessels, where hybrid solutions are the dominant factor, but also the opportunity to convert existing vessels to methanol operation. Our knowledge and experience in these areas is – and will continue to be – one of our main competitive advantages and success factors,” says Per Westling.
Health and safety are important in day-to-day operations, and Stena RoRo has established targets and key figures in this area. A key focus is workplace safety, for which the established LTIF measure is used for the crew onboard. The company’s vision of zero occupational accidents was achieved during the year.
Stena RoRo holds ISO 14001 certification for environment management and therefore works systematically to minimise the environmental impacts of the vessels that are built, converted and chartered. Stena RoRo reached the target of zero oil spills during the year.
Stena RoRo’s goal is for the new generation of RoPax vessels, known as Stena E-Flexers, to meet the highest standards of energy efficiency by meeting or exceeding the IMO’s design index (EEDI).
The E-Flexers that have been produced show good results and exceed the IMO’s requirements.
Share of Total income
Capital employed, MSEK