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BF Confirm Charter of 'E-Flexer' - Galcia & Salamanca

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On 14/06/2018 at 20:28, jonno said:

Tony both E-Flexer 4 and E-flexer 6 are due in 2021... so far. The latter during Q3 of that year. It's on page one here.

https://www.ferryshippingnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/20180530_Ferry-Shipping-News_On-order.pdf

It's interesting that a pax number is given (1000) for No6 but not No4.

I only went by what I read on the official press release from Brittany Ferries, they said 2021 and 2022 respectively. 

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2 hours ago, The Ferry Man said:

 

I find the different intended uses for them interesting. Will be fascinating to see how the DFDS ship out of Dover will (or wont!) vary from the 2 ships lined up for BF.  I used to get the impression that the two routes had vastly different requirements for ships.

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So as previously announced BF are losing the car decks in favour of cabins thus lowering the freight capacity.

It's interesting to read that the article says that No3 is for BF when Stena RoRo have announced that No's 1,2 and 3 are to be deployed on the Irish Sea.

Stena Line confirms plans for its 3 new Irish Sea ships

TUE, JUN 12, 2018 14:30 CET

Stena Line has confirmed that the first of its new RoPax ferries currently under construction in China is planned to enter service on its Holyhead – Dublin route early 2020. The following two is assigned to Liverpool-Belfast.

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9 hours ago, jonno said:

So as previously announced BF are losing the car decks in favour of cabins thus lowering the freight capacity.

It's interesting to read that the article says that No3 is for BF when Stena RoRo have announced that No's 1,2 and 3 are to be deployed on the Irish Sea.

Stena Line confirms plans for its 3 new Irish Sea ships

TUE, JUN 12, 2018 14:30 CET

Stena Line has confirmed that the first of its new RoPax ferries currently under construction in China is planned to enter service on its Holyhead – Dublin route early 2020. The following two is assigned to Liverpool-Belfast.

Ah, that would explain it!!!

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On 21/06/2018 at 08:54, David Williams said:

Re the question about DFDS, I imagine that they will reserve large areas for a duty free shop for post brexit when we can only bring back a few bottles of wine- I also note from the enclosed article that they are adding a 3rd bow thruster to make docking quicker - https://www.niferry.co.uk/dfds-take-stena-e-flexer-dover-calais/

 

 

The DFDS example will be bespoke to DFDS' requirements.  Likewise the Brittany Ferries examples will be different to those for Stena, as we already know.  The entire concept is designed to be flexible after all.  

At present it looks as though the entire series will have capacity for 1000 passengers and crew - for BF to get the required number of cabins without sacrificing the dedicated car deck they would need to remove public spaces which would be less than ideal (and reduce the passenger certificate I assume, unless the plan is for everyone to stay in their cabin for the entire crossing!).  At the end of the day freight isn't going to be turned away in reality as they probably don't need 3,100lm just for freight.  It just means freight will be mixed with cars on the same deck as it often is on many ferries - not much point in them having large almost empty full-height freight decks and an almost full separate car deck which could be used for passenger spaces. They aren't going to be turning away freight as a result unless there is a huge increase in volumes, 3100lm is still a lot more than any current vessel in the BF fleet!  Being a Stena design there will likely be scope for stretching in the future built into the design anyway.

The DFDS example should have more public spaces as I believe it won't have the 175 cabins of the "standard" design, but don't quote me on that ;).  As a result I would expect the layout of the passenger spaces to be different to the other examples.  Figura are still the lead interior architect for Stena RoRo and the yard for all 6 examples, though BF and DFDS are employing their own people to do the final interior design on theirs of course.  It shall be interesting to compare the different variants in service in any case.

[shameless plug] I have an overview of the class here now as the detailed page was getting rather huge!

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Press Release

Stena signs order for two additional E-Flexer ships

Europe’s leading ferry company has an option on a further four vessels

Stena has decided to exercise its option to build a seventh and eighth E-Flexer vessel. The two vessels will be deployed within Stena Line’s route network with a planned delivery in 2022. Additionally, Stena RoRo has taken an option on the construction of a further four E-Flexer vessels also to be built at Avic Weihai Shipyard, China.

“We are very pleased to have ordered two additional E-Flexer vessels from Stena RoRo. We foresee increasing demand for freight capacity in Northern Europe and our new vessels fit very well in matching anticipated market developments as we prepare ourselves for further expansion. At this stage we haven’t decided where within our route network these two vessels will be deployed and are currently evaluating several options,” says Niclas Mårtensson, CEO Stena Line.
The new order and the four further options are important milestones for Stena RoRo.

“These vessels are the result of good cooperation between Stena RoRo and the AVIC Weihai Shipyard. With their strong design capabilities, Stena Line will be able to optimise its capacity to accommodate the vessels within most parts of its route network”, says Per Westling, MD Stena RoRo.
As with the previous E-Flexer vessels ordered by Stena, energy efficiency and sustainability will be key design features.

“We want to lead the development of sustainable shipping and set new industry standards when it comes to operational performance, emissions and cost competiveness,” says Niclas Mårtensson.
The two new ships on order will be larger than the three E-Flexer designs currently being built for Stena Line. The first three E-Flexer ships will be 215 meters long with 3 100 lane meters whilst the next two ships will measure 240 meters with a freight capacity of 3 600 lane meters.

“We are building on our successful RoPax concept mixing freight and passenger traffic. Through standardisation we can secure a reliable operation and by investing in tonnage that is flexible we can provide an even better product that will ultimately support our customers and help them to grow”, said Niclas Mårtensson.
A total of eight vessels have now been ordered by Stena from Avic Weihai Shipyard in China. The first one is planned to operate on Holyhead-Dublin and the next two delivered to Stena Line are planned to operate on the Liverpool-Belfast service. Three other vessels will be chartered out to external ferry operators by Stena RoRo.

Facts about E-Flexer 7 and 8

Length over all (LOA): 239,7 m

Width: 27,8 m

Draught, max: 6,4 m

Pax capacity: 1200

No of cabins: 263

Capacity: 3 600 lm

https://www.niferry.co.uk/press-release-stena-signs-order-for-two-additional-e-flexer-ships/

Edited by tarbyonline
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On 13/07/2018 at 10:35, tarbyonline said:

[shameless plug] I have an overview of the class here now as the detailed page was getting rather huge!

Wouldn't worry about the plug, I've been following since it's inception... Just don't tell anyone of your love of Visentini's !!

So, just to confirm then, Stena have signed an LOI for numbers #9 through #12?

Edited by jonno
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17 minutes ago, jonno said:

Wouldn't worry about the plug, I've been following since it's inception... Just don't tell anyone of your love of Visentini's !!

So, just to confirm then, Stena have signed an LOI for numbers #9 through #12?

Yes.  We could have 12 (or perhaps more).  Of course the additional vessels, if the options are exercised, may be longer or shorter or to a totally different specification.  We are starting to see just how flexible E-Flexer is!  Stena have dreamed of having a standard ferry design for some time now, and it looks like the dream has finally come true.

As for the Visentini's..... shh (though I admit I have gone off them a bit)  ;).  Mind you, a RoPax is a RoPax no matter how you dress it up, especially when more freight orientated like the Visentini series (or arguably even E-Flexer itself!).  We await the interior renders and layout plans of the various versions with bated breath I'm sure!

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20 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

We could see a 3rd one sailing for BF to Spain especially if the first 2 are successful as they should be.

Maybe but they're dedicated Spanish route vessels unable to cover other routes during winter maintenance etc, they're too big whether it's one of the newer 240m ships or 215 metres standard length. Having two to effectively replace BDS and the Cap' is realistic although even if PA does replace Bretagne which vessel would step in for her when she's off to Gdansk getting her bum scraped?

An E-Flexer can't fit into Poole to replace the outgoing Pelican either. 

We may of course be seeing the start of some autonomy, BAI concentrating their main income streams on the Spanish and Irish routes with the SPC's controlling the channel, they are taking over Le Havre next year after all.

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8 minutes ago, jonno said:

with the SPC's controlling the channel, they are taking over Le Havre next year after all.

Hi, could you expand on  how they are taking over Le Havre.

 

Thanks

 

David

Edited by David Williams

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This new option for a further 4 ships is both an indication of confidence in the general European ferry industry's need for tourism and freight capacity and suggests that Stena is happy with the price, delivery deadlines and quality offered by the Chinese Yard. 

I have a couple of questions that Tarbyonline may be able to answer. 

First, is the deal exclusively with the Chinese Yard or can Stena get an identical vessel built at another yard just by supplying the plans? 

Second, and following on from that, if the design is so flexible how short could such a vessel be? Once you have the bow module with thrusters and the stern module with propulsion, does the middle section need to be a certain minimum length to ensure stability and the correct hydro-dynamic properties? The reason for the question is that we still don't (I believe) know what solution Condor and IOM Steam Packet have come up with to replace their Ropax ships. Both are around 130 metres in length which would mean lopping a 100 metre chunk out of the standard e-flexer Hull. Would that still leave enough for the design to work? If so, they could give the contracts to European yards with smaller build halls and dry docks like Cammell Laird who just launched the RRS Sir David Attenborough. Plus the costs would be lower as all the complex design work has been done. 

Ed. 

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1 hour ago, David Williams said:

Hi, could you expand on  how they are taking over Le Havre.

 

Thanks

 

David

Hi Dave, 

What I mean is at the moment Le Havre is exclusive to BAI as both vessels are chartered to them, the generated income is theirs. When Normandie begins the controlling interest and most of the revenue will go to SOMANOR, the SPC which owns all of the Normandy route ships apart from the NEX. BAI will only receive the operating costs.

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2 hours ago, neilcvx said:

Would BAI not have an option to buy Normandie when the new ship arrrives?

Maybe but I doubt would BAI want to purchase a 27 year old vessel which would cost in excess of €30m?

There's something I've got wrong...

Neither SOMANOR nor SOMABRET own Barfleur, Normandie or Bretagne. These three are owned by EIG's set up by the financial institutions which paid for them. They lease them to the SPC's who in turn subcharter them to BAI.

In the EIG accounts these have been written off degressively (amortised) over their first eight years of service which would suggest that they are in no hurry to sell them.

Would you sell a cash generating asset to someone who's paying you to use it?

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6 hours ago, Cabin-boy said:

This new option for a further 4 ships is both an indication of confidence in the general European ferry industry's need for tourism and freight capacity and suggests that Stena is happy with the price, delivery deadlines and quality offered by the Chinese Yard. 

I have a couple of questions that Tarbyonline may be able to answer. 

First, is the deal exclusively with the Chinese Yard or can Stena get an identical vessel built at another yard just by supplying the plans? 

Second, and following on from that, if the design is so flexible how short could such a vessel be? Once you have the bow module with thrusters and the stern module with propulsion, does the middle section need to be a certain minimum length to ensure stability and the correct hydro-dynamic properties? The reason for the question is that we still don't (I believe) know what solution Condor and IOM Steam Packet have come up with to replace their Ropax ships. Both are around 130 metres in length which would mean lopping a 100 metre chunk out of the standard e-flexer Hull. Would that still leave enough for the design to work? If so, they could give the contracts to European yards with smaller build halls and dry docks like Cammell Laird who just launched the RRS Sir David Attenborough. Plus the costs would be lower as all the complex design work has been done. 

Ed. 

I'll do my best Ed.  Its certainly would appear to be possible to shorten them, but 100m might be a bit much I would have thought as we are effectively talking about halving the original hull length of 215m (its a 27.8m wide hull as well remember).  I'm no hydrodynamic expert though!  The design is by Stena and Deltamarin.  Theoretically they could go elsewhere I suppose, but I don't think they would want to - theres no official price been announced but word is its a VERY good price that Stena got from AVIC.  By placing a large order economies of scale come in to play as well, and suppliers will take a lower profit margin on the components per vessel than on say a build for one or two vessels.  In AVIC Stena have established a sort of ferry factory which was the plan for this design.  Deltamarin are owned by AVIC these days but I don't know if that would affect anything as they still design for non-AVIC clients of course.

For Condor or IOMSPCo to build the design they would have to buy it from Stena, who would have to be willing to sell.  It would probably be cheaper to get Stena just to build it anyway and perhaps even take on a long term charter like DFDS and BF are doing (which also saves having to raise finance of course).  Getting a European yard involved would mean costs would be significantly higher before even considering that AVIC will have a sort of production line established for the modules and all the key suppliers in place, with Stena RoRo on site doing the project management.  

Building the RRS Sir David Attenborough is an entirely different proposition to a ro-ro passenger ferry in any case.  I'm sure there are other designs Condor and IOMSPCo could use anyway which would be more suited to their services rather than taking a MUCH larger ferry and making it fit.  For Cammell Laird to get a 130m ferry contract they will likely have to be able to compete on price at least with the European competition - that could be a tall order and I doubt the margins would be great given Lairds would be starting from a standing start as opposed to European rivals.  

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Thanks for the reply.

I agree that building two shorter ferries in the same Chinese yard would be logical from a price and supplier point of view. I also agree that Cammell (and the like) might not be able to compete on price with other European yards but perhaps they could in terms of availability as I think we established last week that there is very little, if any, spare capacity at present.

You may also be right about the problem of the beam as well (not to mention the draught). The E-Flexers are at least 3 metres wider than the two present ferries which I suppose might then cause problems with stability were the design to be shortened. 

Do you know what other short ferry design is available that would suit their needs, off the shelf as it were, given that the requirements are so specific? 

Ed

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12 hours ago, jonno said:

Hi Dave, 

What I mean is at the moment Le Havre is exclusive to BAI as both vessels are chartered to them, the generated income is theirs. When Normandie begins the controlling interest and most of the revenue will go to SOMANOR, the SPC which owns all of the Normandy route ships apart from the NEX. BAI will only receive the operating costs.

Is there something specific about the Le Havre line which will make its operation different to the regular arrangement, ie why would the ship owning company start taking a share of operating revenues or net revenues?

As it stands Brittany Ferries merely charter ships from Somanor, as they do from third parties. Brittany Ferries are the operator and recognise the income and expenses, including the costs of charter. 

The related party relationship is obviously different but Somanor's revenue is charter income, which is received whether the ship sails or not and whether it sails to a geographically relevant port or not.

How commercial or not the charter rates are has of course been a matter of some debate.

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4 hours ago, hhvferry said:

As it stands Brittany Ferries merely charter ships from Somanor, as they do from third parties.

Somanor and Somabret control the ships and instruct BAI how they are to be used. It's the SPC's who make the decisive strategic decisions. Ports, frequency, fleet composition, service provision, pax and freight capacities. Normandie, Barfleur and Bretagne are slightly different again as BAI also have to pay a further profit margin to Crédit Agricole who own them.

The only vessels BAI can control are Etretat, BDS, Pelican, Cap' Finistere, Normandie Express and Connemara.

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8 hours ago, jonno said:

Somanor and Somabret control the ships and instruct BAI how they are to be used. It's the SPC's who make the decisive strategic decisions. Ports, frequency, fleet composition, service provision, pax and freight capacities. 

Have you got anything, link etc, that shows that? It goes against my general understanding of cart vs horse in the admittedly slightly Byzantine BF universe.

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My understanding was somewhere in between the two models mentioned by HHV and Jonno, so interested to know more.  I thought it was a case of the cooperatives funding the vessels which would be built for a certain route and BAI chartered them at a set rate, but there was a certain degree of operational flexibility.  My understanding of the Bf universe is vague to say the least though!

16 hours ago, Cabin-boy said:

Thanks for the reply.

I agree that building two shorter ferries in the same Chinese yard would be logical from a price and supplier point of view. I also agree that Cammell (and the like) might not be able to compete on price with other European yards but perhaps they could in terms of availability as I think we established last week that there is very little, if any, spare capacity at present.

You may also be right about the problem of the beam as well (not to mention the draught). The E-Flexers are at least 3 metres wider than the two present ferries which I suppose might then cause problems with stability were the design to be shortened. 

Do you know what other short ferry design is available that would suit their needs, off the shelf as it were, given that the requirements are so specific? 

Ed

There’s a surprising amount of capacity in the Far East, but that’s a lot to do with the sheer scale of the yards themselves.  Demand for other tonnage isn’t what it was, hence why the likes of AVIC have switched to passenger vessel production (which is potentially more lucrative anyway).  Much of the shortage in Europe is due to large cruise ships under construction, but there are facilities out there that could build a smaller ferry which don’t have the capability or interest in cruise ship production.  Remontowa for example could design and build such a vessel (it’s not that long ago they designed and built the trio of double Enders for Bc ferries).  FSG could perhaps even squeeze one out between larger builds as well, and I’m sure there will be somewhere in Turkey for example capable too.  They are building ferries in Rauma again under the RMC name, and there are other small yards out there as well (Smyril for example was built in Spain but I don’t know what the status of the yard is at present).

I imagine Knud E Hansen and others have a few designs that could be adapted.  Let’s not forget that the Ben and Commodore Clipper themselves evolved from the Via Mare series and Norbay/Norbank design (as arguably did most of VGN’s ferry production).  142 x 25 x 5.7 is what is stated as Heysham Max and so far as I am aware the future strategy for Douglas is based around ferries of that size as short of rebuilding Heysham they aren’t going to be able to get any bigger.  The best way to maximise space of course would be to do as Seatruck did and go with a bespoke design, but that has cost implications too.

Stena say E-flexer will be able to be adapted to suit the vast majority of their routes, but they won’t have anywhere as constrained as Heysham anymore going forward.  Currently Varberg is quite limited, but they are switching the Grenaa service to Halmstad soon which will allow them to use much larger vessels than the current one (Stena Nautica , better known to many of us as B&I’s Isle of Inishmore though much modified now).  It’s quite possible the replacements for Ben and Clipper could be designed in the U.K. and built elsewhere (like Victoria of Wight, which by the way looks rather nice inside if the pictures are anything to go by).  It will be hard to justify spending extra to build in the U.K., especially in the IOM where it will be taxpayers cash being spent.

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2 hours ago, hhvferry said:

Have you got anything, link etc, that shows that? It goes against my general understanding of cart vs horse in the admittedly slightly Byzantine BF universe.

No but I have 46 pages on 23 sheets of documents set out in 297 paragraphs which also give the years and values of FRF loans etc dating back to 1983 and the SPC and EIG profit margins ranging from 5.9%-9%.

 It's part of the Official Journal of the European Communities.

I attempted to give you it word for word however this is how it reads on the paperwork. I have no idea why paragraph 27 repeats itself.

(27) Both de jure and de facto, therefore, the legal and financial relations between BAI and the SPCs give the latter a decisive influence over the former. They have the power to guide BAI's strategic decisions, since it is they who decide on the acquisition/sale of the ships BAI operates (fleet composition), the operating conditions for those ships, the general traffic conditions BAI has to meet, and the capital increases needed to maintain those conditions.  The SPCs either own ships directly, where they have been financed by borrowing, or they hold leasing contracts with economic interest groupings (EIGs) which have themselves acquired the ships, where this form of financing has been preferred. As shipowners, the SPCs have an appreciable influence over the BAI group's business decisions, particularly when it comes to deciding the group's strategy on the maritime connections (ports of departure/arrival, frequency, fleet composition, services to be provided, passenger/freight transport capacity, etc.)

(36) Since the credit institutions apply a margin to the interest rate charged to the SPCs, the SPCs pass on this margin to BAI.

Edited by jonno

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Yes I think the financing aspect is alright but I don't think the related entities get revenues which vary with the performance of routes or vessels. So it's sort of that BAI continues to enjoy the financial risks and rewards of operating whilst the risks and rewards of shipowning lie with the related entity. And obviously the more ships they own, and can influence BF to operate, the more rewards they can generate both financially for themselves and for the regions they represent. 

If there was no likely financially viable competition this would be a very good setup but the way P&O were lost to the W Channel (much of it self inflicted admittedly) makes it more difficult to justify.

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