Portugal welcomes its first fully electric ferry
Portugal’s first zero-emission, electric ferry has been delivered by Grupo ETE following a christening ceremony at Navaltagus Shipyard in Seixal.
The vessel, Salicórnia, has been developed entirely by national companies to serve a Portuguese region. It represents a maritime milestone as the first electric ferry on the Iberian Peninsula.
The €7.3-million vessel will shortly proceed to Aveiro to undergo navigation and loading tests before its official inauguration when it will replace an existing ferry service that currently connects São Jacinto and the Fort of Barra, in Ílhavo.
The zero-emissions ferry is expected to slash CO2 by 300 tons while reducing energy consumption by around 30%. Transporting 260 passengers and 19 vehicles, it also offers a 30% and 90% increase in capacity respectively, compared to the current vessel in action.
Navaltagus Shipyard, which has been responsible for the ferry construction, is managed by Grupo ETE, Portugal’s largest maritime and logistics entity.
“From the first moment at Grupo ETE we said yes to innovation, yes to sustainability, yes to mobility and public service and we did so with dedication. Salicórnia is a project which Grupo ETE is proud to be part of and which is also a symbol of responsible conduct assumed by everyone involved,” Luís Figueiredo, Grupo ETE’s shareholder and Board Member, commented.
Aveiro Mayor, José Ribau Esteves, said the new electric ferryboat is an example of how local authorities should carry out their public investment, focusing on citizens and giving priority to environmental sustainability and the fight against climate change.
“This is a significant moment in terms of policies and public investment in Portugal. Environmental sustainability is a commitment and a priority for Aveiro City Council and the new Electric Ferryboat is the result of our investment in the environment and people,” Esteves pointed out.
The Electric Ferryboat project is co-financed by POSEUR, Portugal 2020 and the European Union through the Cohesion Fund, to the value of €2.25 million, for a total investment by Aveiro City Council (ferryboat and charging system) of around €9 million.
In July 2023, IMO Member States adopted the 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, with enhanced targets to tackle harmful emissions. The revised strategy includes an enhanced common ambition to reach net-zero GHG emissions from international shipping by or around, i.e. close to 2050, a commitment to ensure uptake of alternative zero and near-zero GHG fuels by 2030, as well as indicative check-points for international shipping to reach net-zero GHG emissions for 2030band 2040.
Vessels such as Salicórnia can significantly contribute to sustainable ferry transport both at sea and on the shore because the clean technology installed on board these vessels helps ports meet IMO targets.