DFDS to invest in battery electric ships for the Channel

2024-05-28T18:59:44+00:00 May 28th, 2024|Environment|

Danish ferry and logistics company, DFDS, is to invest €1 bill in battery electric vessels, marking its commitment to de-carbonise maritime traffic in the English Channel.

Six battery electric ships will be deployed on the Dunkirk/Dover and Calais/Dover routes utilised to carry passengers and freight between the UK and the European Union.

The first two electric vessels will be operational by 2030, while the other four are expected to follow before 2035.

“This is an important step towards de-carbonising cross-Channel transport. Because of the relatively short distance between the UK and France, the routes are optimal for electric ferry transport.

“The electrification of our cross-Channel fleet will be an important step towards meeting our climate targets and, with this investment, we are accelerating the transition to a greener future for the shipping industry,” explained Torben Carlsen, DFDS CEO.

The English Channel is one of the world’s busiest shipping corridors. It links two of the world’s largest economies and accounts for 33% of trade between the EU and the UK.

DFDS and the Port of Dover, the Port of Boulogne/Calais and the Port of Dunkirk have committed to work together to de-carbonise maritime traffic in the Straits of Dover through a Memorandum of Understanding on 15th March, 2023.

The company is working with leading experts in battery technology, ship design and energy efficiency to develop the  electric ships – including three under French flag – ensuring that their design encompasses safety and performance, while using production methods that have the least possible impact on the environment.

In addition, DFDS is working closely with national authorities, infrastructure partners and energy suppliers to secure the energy supply and infrastructure for electric ships.

In recent years, DFDS and the French authorities have increased dialogue, and the French government recently launched an plan for the country’s energy transition, focusing on infrastructure.

“The green transition is not something we can achieve on our own. Without access to sufficient power supply on land and infrastructure to accommodate charging facilities in ports, we cannot operate the ships.

“ I am pleased that we have a shared ambition with governments on both sides of the Channel to enable green transport corridors and we are delighted to be able to make this announcement at the 7th Choose France Summit initiated by French President, Emmanuel Macron,” Carlsen added.

In 2023, DFDS launched a new strategy – ‘Moving Together Towards 2030’ – which reconfirms its ambition to become a net-zero company by 2050 and to have six green ferries in service by the end of 2030, two of which will be electric ships for the Channel.

In France, DFDS has five vessels under the French flag and employs 1,200 people, including 800 French seafarers.

In the UK, DFDS said that it had a long history of working with authorities and partners, fully supporting initiatives to accelerate the de-carbonisation of the UK’s ports and shipping sector.