In response to demand on the route from Rotterdam (Europoort) to Harwich, Stena Line is to increase capacity by changing to larger ships.
The current RoRo ships the Capucine and Severine operating twice daily from Europoort in the Netherlands and Harwich in the UK will be replaced by larger ships, MV Misada and MV Misana, when their present charter contracts expire in January 2018.
The overall freight capacity of the route will hereby increase by some 20 per cent.
The change coincides with the expected completion of a second berth in Europoort, part of a significant investment program in the port to ensure it develops into a strong multipurpose freight transport hub.
The capacity expansion is also linked to Europoort developing as an important rail freight connection point to and from the UK.
Annika Hult, trade director at Stena Line North Sea said: “I am very pleased to announce that we will now take the next step in the strategic development of our Rotterdam (Europoort) - Harwich route.
“We have seen a strong growth in the transport market to the UK over the past several years and we are currently trading at very high utilization on this route.
“This has been further fuelled by freight volumes arriving to Europoort by train.
“The current rail connections between Poznan, Poland and Europoort, which changed ownership earlier this year, are running very well.
“We believe that this combination of rail and RoRo transportation will only increase in the future.”
The new vessels will be chartered on a time-charter contract and will consequently be fully manned.
This will impact on-board staff.
“As a company we want to avoid as many redundancies from happening as reasonably possible and we will be looking at all available options including redeployment to other vessels within Stena Line,” Hult added.