August 30 - A 'steel cutting ceremony' held at the AVIC Weihai Shipyard, China, marked the start of construction of the first of four ro-ro vessels ordered by Stena Line.

The vessels are scheduled to be delivered during 2019 and 2020 with Stena Line having the option to pursue a further four vessels as part of the overall contract.

The significant investment will see a continuation of Stena Line's successful ro-pax concept which mixes freight and passengers as part of its operational business model.

The vessels will be 50 percent larger than today's standard ro-pax vessels, measuring 214.5 m in length and 27.8 m in breadth.

"The new vessels will be among the most fuel efficient in the world with approximately 25 percent lower CO2 emissions per cargo unit than comparable tonnage," says Niclas Mårtensson, ceo of Stena Line.

Meanwhile, Gotlandsbolaget's ro-ro vessel Gute has entered into service on Stena Line's Gydnia, Poland to Karlskrona, Sweden route.

Gute is time-chartered from Gotlandsbolaget and complements Stena Vision, Stena Spirit and Stena Baltica with the major focus on Stena Line's freight operation, as HLPFI reported here.

With the addition of Gute on the service, Stena Line now offers 44 weekly trips on the route.