Ferry Firm Gets Funding For Electrification Efforts Delayed by COVID

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Friday March 3, 2023

Canadian West Coast ferry owner / operator BC Ferries has received funding to help get its vessel electrification efforts back on track.

Earlier this week BC Premier David Eby and Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said government controlled BC Ferries would receive a total of CAD $500 million ($365 million) in state funding that, in addition to meeting environmental objectives, would also help keep fare prices down in the face of global inflation.

It was not revealed how much of the funding package would be used to help shift away from traditional marine fuels.

BC Ferries currently operates six 'Island Class' diesel-electric hybrid ferries that are designed for conversion into 100% battery powered operation.

Fleming noted that funds earmarked for its electrification efforts had instead been used to ease pressures related to the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

"By protecting the affordability of fares and supporting electrification of B.C. Ferries, we will lower the company's fuel costs over time and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the province," he added.

"There are B.C. clean energy jobs attached to the electrification of our ferry fleet."

Corvus Energy, one of the world's leading marine battery manufacturers, is also located in British Columbia.

BC Ferries' move to battery propulsion comes as part of a wider push towards electrification by the sector as a whole.

In 2021 Mike Corrigan, the CEO of Global ferry industry association Interferry and former CEO of BC Ferries, said the association would use the sector's economic clout to help its drive towards electrification.