BC shows off new ferries

2024-03-01T17:28:21+00:00 March 1st, 2024|Ships|

Two conceptual renderings of BC Ferries’ new major vessels programme are the first look at what up to seven new ferries could look like when they enter service from 2029.

BC Ferries is building the new major vessels to provide more capacity across the ferry system. The vessels will replace up to six existing major vessels that are nearing their end-of-life cycle and will serve the busiest routes between Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver.

“The new major vessels programme is the largest part of our capital plan to modernise and transform the ferry experience in British Columbia,” said Nicolas Jimenez, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “These vessels – greener, more efficient and standardised – represent the future of ferry travel in our province.

“They will significantly increase daily capacity, provide an enhanced customer experience, improve reliability and reduce environmental impacts,” he said.

The concept images can be viewed and downloaded here: https://bcferries.barberstock.com/collection/bcferries/bc-ferries-new-major-vessels-design-concept

They will be able to carry up to 360 standard sized vehicles and 2,100 persons, compared to a capacity of 250-310 vehicles and 1,200-1,500 people on retiring vessels.

This will help meet growing customer demand particularly as more people move to BC in the coming years. The vessels will be standardised with others in the fleet to allow more flexibility in moving them between routes when maintenance or refits are required, without disrupting customer travel.

The basic design for these vessels is being developed in collaboration with a leading naval architect firm, LMG Marin AS, in order to maximize efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The design calls for engines capable of using bio- and renewable fuels, and includes a battery-hybrid propulsion system that will allow for conversion to full battery-electric operation once shore-based recharging infrastructure becomes available.

BC Ferries has issued a Request for Supplier Qualification (RFSQ) for its programme. The RFSQ is available through the international shipbroker Clarksons, as well as on bcbid.gov.bc.ca.

It will close on 22nd March, 2024. Qualified shipyards will then have the opportunity to take part in the Request for Proposal (RFP) process, currently expected to occur in the summer of 2024.

BC Ferries follows a formal and transparent procurement process to obtain the best possible value for ferry users, the company claimed. The bidding process to build the new ships is open to qualified local, national and international companies.