Business news

Portrait of Stena Line owner unveiled at Belfast Harbour as ferry operator hits record freight volumes on NI routes

Posted By:
Stena Line Ltd

29th Jan 2024

Belfast Harbour has unveiled a specially commissioned portrait of Stena Line owner and Chairman, Dan Sten Olsson, at their Harbour Office in Corporation Square to celebrate the significant contribution the Swedish ferry operator has made to the Port and Region over the last three decades.

The unveiling comes as Stena Line marks a record year for freight volumes on its Belfast routes with approximately 587,000 units being transported in 2023.

Painted by local artist, Ken Hamilton, the portrait was commissioned by Belfast Harbour to acknowledge the impact that Dan Sten Olsson and the investment of Stena Line has made to the development of Belfast Harbour in recent years.

Stena Line moved to Belfast Harbour in 1995 and since then, the Company has invested significantly in developing and improving its Irish Sea operations. The Irish Sea’s leading ferry company operates three routes from Belfast Harbour with combined passenger and freight services from Belfast to Cairnryan and Belfast to Liverpool, as well as a dedicated freight only route from Belfast to Heysham. A total of seven Stena Line ships move in and out of Victoria Terminals 1/2 and 4 in Belfast Harbour on a daily basis with the port also serving as Stena Line’s Irish Sea headquarters.

Dan Sten Olsson, Owner and Chairman of Stena Line, said:

“I am honoured to be presented with a portrait by Belfast Harbour Commissioners. Over the years, Stena Line has developed a strong relationship and affinity with Belfast and the local community. Personally, I did my first business in Belfast over 50 years ago and have been committed to Northern Ireland ever since. Northern Ireland is a strategically important region for Stena Line and our solid partnership with Belfast Harbour has been instrumental in our construction of one of our largest passenger and freight hubs in our European network. We look forward to what the future brings for the routes and to working with the harbour to continuously improve our services for our customers.”

Dr Theresa Donaldson, Chair of Belfast Harbour Commissioners said:

Stena Line is one of Belfast Harbour’s most important strategic partners and plays an integral role in the life of Belfast Harbour and our local economy. We considered it would be a fitting tribute to recognise the contribution and commitment that Dan has made personally to the Company’s growth in Belfast with a portrait of him to be displayed in the Harbour Office. Dan has been a great friend to Belfast Harbour and the City and Region over the last 30 years. We look forward to the continued success of our partnership as Stena Line expands and develops its freight and passenger services in the future.”

In 2023, Stena Line announced that it is making a multi-million pound investment in two hybrid ‘NewMax’ RoRo vessels for the Belfast – Heysham service which will boost capacity by 80%. Construction on these ships commenced in China earlier this month, with the first scheduled to join the route in Autumn 2025.

Paul Grant, Trade Director, Irish Sea, Stena Line said,

“Our Belfast routes have broken freight records in 2023 and we’re proud to keep delivering market leading freight and travel solutions. We’re constantly trying to improve and give customers the service levels they want and deserve. The strong relationship with Belfast Harbour has helped us facilitate growth and looking forward to 2025, we’re making preparations for our new ships on the Belfast-Heysham service, which will provide a significant boost in capacity.”

Stena Line is the largest ferry operator on the Irish Sea, with the biggest fleet providing up to 238 weekly sailings offering the widest choice of routes including: combined passenger and freight services from Belfast to Cairnryan and Liverpool, Dublin to Holyhead, Rosslare to Fishguard, Rosslare to Cherbourg, in addition to the dedicated freight only route from Belfast to Heysham and the new Dublin – Birkenhead service which is due to start in February.

Stena Line is one of Europe’s leading ferry companies transporting 6.5 million passengers with 39 vessels across 17 routes in Northern Europe operating 27,000 sailings each year.