BC Ferries

BC Ferries obtains $75M loan to build four new hybrid electric ships

Canadian ferry operator BC Ferries has secured a $75 million loan from the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) to fund the purchase of four zero-emission ferries and install the required charging infrastructure.

Courtesy of BC Ferries

Battery electric ferries and terminal upgrades are to be completed by fiscal 2027 and are estimated to reduce 9,000 tonnes of GHG emissions annually, according to the company.

The Island class vessels, which will be used on small volume and shorter routes, are part of the company’s ongoing efforts to replace its existing Island class fleet with quieter and more environmentally friendly ferries.

The existing diesel-hybrid vessels will be transferred to other routes to replace ferries that have reached their end of life.

As informed, the CIB’s loan will cover the higher upfront capital costs of the ferries compared to diesel, including charging infrastructure, helping to accelerate the electrification of one of the world’s largest ferry networks. Repayment of the investment will come from standard operating revenues comprised of passenger fares and retail revenues.

The investment is the CIB’s first in zero-emission ferries, which expands its transit portfolio beyond zero-emission buses.

BC Ferries provides year-round passenger and vehicle ferry services using 37 vessels serving 25 routes out of 47 terminals spread over 1,600 km of B.C. coastline.

“Partnering with BC Ferries on the CIB’s first electric ferry financing will help to accelerate the electrification of one of the world’s largest ferry networks. In addition to their environmental benefits, the new vessels will be quieter and offer more enjoyable commutes for local residents and visitors to communities in the greater Vancouver area,” Ehren Cory, Chief Executive Officer, Canada Infrastructure Bank, said.

“This partnership between the Canada Infrastructure Bank and BC Ferry Services is an incredible first step towards the electrification of one of the world’s largest ferry networks. Greener transit is a vital part of our work to tackle climate change and the work that CIB is doing to support it will go a long way in helping us reach our goals of net zero emissions by 2050,” Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, commented.

“More zero-emission ferries will have great benefits for the environment and communities nearby, including quieter vessels and lower carbon emissions. This is another step toward Canada meeting its commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050,” Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Transport, pointed out.

“Our partnership with the CIB to deliver these new Island Class vessels will increase system capacity, improve our flexibility to move ships across routes and make it easier to train and deploy our teams. It’ll also help us achieve important environmental benefits. All of this increases our passengers’ confidence we’ll get them where they need to go in a safe, reliable and environmentally conscious way,” Nicolas Jimenez, President and Chief Executive Officer, BC Ferries, concluded.

Earlier this year, Dutch shipbuilder Damen secured a contract to build the four new hybrid ferries for BC Ferries. The units will be constructed in Romania.

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