Port switch for Stena Line's Humber to Rotterdam sailing as demand for driverless crossings surges

Stena Line is to switch its daily Rotterdam sailing from Killingholme to neighbouring Immingham.

Increased demand for unaccompanied freight on the Dutch route has led to a requirement for additional terminal capacity, with Humber Sea Terminal unable to cater for it.


Brexit, exacerbated by the Covid pandemic, has seen driverless freight surge, with logistics firms delivering and picking up the loads at either end.


It does mean more port space is required though, with cargo not immediately heading out of the gates once a vessel discharges.


ABP Humber director, Simon Bird, welcomed the move, having overseen a £50 million investment in container handling on the river.


He said: “We are delighted to welcome Stena to the growing list of customers choosing to benefit from the range of services and infrastructure the Port of Immingham offers for moving trade in and out of the UK.


"Over the last year, we have seen the container terminal in the Port of Immingham expand rapidly with six new destinations from three new customers calling regularly at the port, and Stena’s decision is a further boost to the strong roll-on-roll-off business.


“When added to the news of the new freeport status for the Humber, we believe these are very exciting times for ABP in the Humber.”


The switch for the daily 12-hour overnight sailing served by 193m-long chartered sister vessels Hatche and Pol Maris, will be implemented on January 1, with a seamless service pledged between Immingham and Europort.


Both vessels have a 3,663 lane metre capacity, with Stena stating there are no planned capacity or frequency changes following the review of the North Sea ro-ro route.


Stena’s other Humber sailing, the accompanied Hoek van Holland to Killingholme service, will remain, served by Stena Transit and Stena Transporter, with a 300-passenger capacity.


A spokesperson for C.RO Ports Killingholme Ltd, the company behind Humber Sea Terminal, said: “As part of a review of operations at the Killingholme terminal, we have taken the decision to terminate an agreement with Stena Line BV relating to its Europort-Killingholme service as from the end of 2021.


“C.RO Ports Killingholme has a long-standing positive relationship with Stena Line and will continue to service Stena’s Hoek van Holland-Killingholme line alongside the services of CLdN between Killingholme and Zeebrugge and Rotterdam.”


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