British Columbia awards contract for electric-ready ferry

A CAS$62.9-million contract to build a new electric-ready ferry for Kootenay Lake, British Columbia (BC), has been awarded to Western Pacific Marine of Vancouver.

The new ferry will more than double the capacity of the MV Balfour, which it will replace. The MV Balfour will be retired from service.

The vessel will be able to accommodate up to 55 vehicles and, used in tandem with the larger MV Osprey 2000, is expected to reduce sailing waits during the busy summer months.

Announcing the contract, the Government of British Columbia said the vessel will be fully converted to electric propulsion by 2030, ‘once shore power is installed and reliability of the technology advances for use on a daily basis’.

The new vessel will be configured as a hybrid diesel-electric with all the systems, equipment and components for electric propulsion. 

‘With construction beginning here in Canada on the new electric-ready ferry for Kootenay Lake, we are building toward a greener future with made-in-Canada clean technology,’ said Catherine McKenna, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. ‘Once launched, the new ferry will make it easier for residents and tourists to travel through the Kootenay region.’

British Columbia is working to electrify the inland ferry fleet by 2040, as part of its CleanBC plan aimed at reducing climate pollution, while creating more jobs and economic opportunities for people, businesses and communities.

Michelle Mungall, MLA for Nelson-Creston on behalf of Claire Trevena, B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, added: ‘This is an exciting milestone for a project that will significantly benefit the entire region. The new, cleaner ferry will move more people more efficiently, improving community connections and local economies.’

The new vessel is scheduled to begin operations in early 2023.

Rhys Berry

Rhys Berry