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Condor competitor teases hybrid-electric ferry for Channel Islands

Condor competitor teases hybrid-electric ferry for Channel Islands

Tuesday 23 April 2024

Condor competitor teases hybrid-electric ferry for Channel Islands

Tuesday 23 April 2024


A ferry company looking to snatch the contract with Condor has revealed plans for a hybrid-electric ferry intended to be used in the Channel Islands if it wins the tender.

Ferry operator DFDS said it had entered into an agreement with Tasmanian ferry manufacturer, Incat, to conduct a design study for a 72-metre-long hybrid vessel – with the option of converting it to a fully-electric craft.

The announcement came just hours ahead of the firm's pitch to government officials, business owners and other stakeholders in Jersey today.

It comes amid discussions with both Jersey and Guernsey who are trying to secure a new operating agreement for freight and passenger ferry services. 

Condor’s current agreement is due to end next year.

The "future ferry solution" for the Channel Islands

DFDS said that the hybrid-electric vessel could potentially accommodate both freight and passenger transport and be deployed on routes to and from the Channel Islands and France, should the operator be awarded the upcoming tender.

visualisation-of-the-72-metre-hybrid-electric-vessel.jpg

Pictured: DFDS has commissioned a design study for a hybrid-electric vessel that could be used to service the Channel Islands.

The CEO of DFDS, Torben Carlsen said: "The hybrid-electric ferry will be part of our vision for the future ferry solution for the Channel Islands.

"Electrification of short sea routes is the future, and with the design study we can fast-track the green transition ushering in a new era of low-emission maritime transport."

He continued: "This will not be easy. We need to ensure a sufficient power supply on land and infrastructure to accommodate recharging facilities in ports.

"But I am confident that we can work together with the ports, governments, and communities on the Channel Islands to make this happen."

Tender talks ramp up after berthing trials

DFDS's visit to Jersey today is essentially a pitch ahead of formal publication of the tender.

In December, the Danish firm's 163-metre-long cargo ship, Finlandia Seaways, became the largest ship to ever berth in Jersey.

dsds_finlandia_seaways.jpg

Pictured: The DFDS ship Finlandia Seaways came to Jersey at the end of last year for a berthing trial.

Berthing trials of the 157-metre Barfleur passenger ferry, a 'ropax' vessel which currently operates daily crossings between Poole and Cherbourg and can carry up to 900 passengers and 590 cars, were also recently carried out in Jersey.

However, Guernsey's trial had to be cancelled yesterday due to the weather conditions.

Brittany Ferries this afternoon confirmed that it would be bringing the cruise-ferry to Guernsey tomorrow around 17:00.

“Our aim with both berthing trials has been to test the capabilities and constraints that might allow us to bring a ship like Barfleur to the islands if needed,” said Christophe Mathieu, CEO of Brittany Ferries and interim CEO Condor Ferries.

“It’s important because fleet flexibility is key to bringing greater resilience to the islands in the months and years ahead."

Last month, Mr Mathieu revealed that Barfluer could act as a backup vessel to support local sailings when needed.

He also said that Condor is "determined to answer and win the tender" for the Channel Islands once it is published.

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