Stena Line plans to replace the two vessels currently servicing its Rotterdam to Harwich route with two larger ships, due to increased demand.

The ro-ro ships Capucine and Severine, which operate twice daily from Europoort in the Netherlands to Harwich in the UK, will be replaced by the larger vessels MV Misida and MV Misana.

Stena said there had been strong growth in the transport market to the UK over the past few years and that the utilisation rate on the route was very high.

“This has been further fuelled by freight volumes arriving to Europoort by train,” said Annika Hult, trade director at Stena Line North Sea. “The current rail connections between Poznan, Poland and Europoort, which changed ownership earlier this year, are running very well. We believe that this combination of rail and ro-ro transportation will only increase in the future.”

The change will take place when the current charter contract expires for the smaller ships in January next year, and will increase the overall freight capacity on the route by 20%.

The upgrade in ship capacity coincides with the expected completion of a second berth in Europoort, part of a significant investment program in the port to ensure it develops into a strong, multi-purpose freight transport hub.

Europoort is also developing a rail freight connection point to and from the UK.