Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2024

99 China’s CMI Jingling Wehai will deliver Stena RoRo’s thirteenth E-Flexer ferry to Corsica Linea in the first quarter of 2026 Photo: Stenna Roro FERRY ORDER BOOK RoRo has contracted CMI Jingling Wehai to build another E-Flexer ro-pax vessel, which will be delivered to Corsica Linea in the first quarter of 2026. It is Stena RoRo’s thirteenth E-Flexer ferry and the first to be delivered to the Mediterranean operator. “The arrival of this new LNG vessel in the fleet is a strong signal that is in line with the ambitious course set for Corsica Linea in the coming years: to become the most modern shipping company in the Mediterranean by 2030,” says PierreAntoine Villanova, CEO of Corsica Linea. “This new and highly efficient ship will be an important factor in our green transition and a part of our objective to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 40 per cent by 2030.” Managing director of Stena RoRo Per Westling adds: “This ship is a further development of our previous ro-pax concepts, where the focus on sustainability and future-proofing has been a top priority. Through the further development and optimisation of the hull shape, in combination with multi-fuel engines and battery hybrid technology, ordering new vessels will be the most important and powerful measure to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from shipping in the future.” While these new orders and deliveries have been celebrated by the industry, the mood is less ebullient in New Zealand where KiwiRail’s Inter-Island Resilient Connection Project (iReX) for Cook Strait operator Interislander has been cancelled. The project would have resulted in the introduction of two 220-metre-long ro-pax rail ferries, each with capacity for 1,900 passengers, 3,600 lane metres of freight and a main deck configured to load up to 40 rail wagons on six tracks. Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in South Korea had already started working on the ships, with the first due to be delivered in 2025 and the second in 2026. In a statement, KiwiRail chairperson David McLean announced that the KiwiRail board had been advised by the New Zealand Government that it has decided not to provide further funding for the iReX project, making it financially unviable. Consequently, the KiwiRail board is now reviewing its plans for the Cook Strait connection. “The board acknowledges the disappointment of our team and stakeholders involved in this project,” says McLean. “We sought a strong outcome for New Zealand through this project for a more resilient State Highway 1 across Cook Strait for exporters, domestic freight forwarders, tourism and domestic commuters. “We will work with the government, our customers, ports and other stakeholders on the way forward. An alternative suitable long-term solution could take years to develop. In the interim, KiwiRail will continue to invest in the safety and reliability of the existing Interislander fleet, through strong asset management practices.” One happy outcome for another cancelled contract is Baleària’s purchase of the cruise ferry Rusadir. The ship started life in the Flensburger SchiffbauGesellschaft (FSG) yard and was originally set to operate as Honfleur for Brittany Ferries, but the brand cancelled the €200 million ($218 million) order after significant delays. Honfleur was chartered to Baleària on the MalagaMelilla service in Spain for the 2023 season and a purchase option has now been exercised. DFDS expects to start a newbuilding programme for green ferries in 2026. The programme covers six planned newbuilds, comprising two electric ropax catamarans, two methanol ro-pax ships and two ammonia ro-ro vessels.