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BC Ferries starts bidding process for most climate-friendly ships to date

'We are building the low-carbon coastal ferry system that will serve [British Colombia] for the middle half of this century': VP



The 1976-built Queen of Coquitlam is one of four ageing vessels that will be replaced as part of BC Ferries' procurement programme. Image credit: BC Ferries


Updated on 08 Oct 2018 14:35 GMT

BC Ferries has issued Requests for Expressions of Interest (RFEOI) for the procurement of five new vesels which are set to be the firm's most climate-friendly to date.

The new ferries will replace the Queen of Alberni, Queen of New Westminster, Queen of Cowichan, and Queen of Coquitlam, with BC Ferries also adding a fifth ship to address forecasted increases in vehicle and passenger traffic in the coming years, and to build resiliency in the fleet.

The ships, which are expected to begin entering into service in 2023 on BC Ferries' major routes between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island, are to be built to reflect the capacity levels of its current Coastal- and Spirit-class ferries.

"These vessels will be quieter and have a lighter ecological footprint than any we have ever built," said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries' Vice President of Strategy and Community Engagement.

"We are building the low-carbon coastal ferry system that will serve [British Colombia] for the middle half of this century," said Wilson. "These vessels will provide additional capacity on our routes while continuing our ambition to be leaders in environmental stewardship."

July RFEOIs

Towards the end of July, BC Ferries also issued RFEOIs for the construction of five other ferries to replace ageing vessels.

The first RFEOI is for the construction of four 81-metre Island-class ferries with electric hybrid propulsion, including batteries.

The second RFEOI is for the construction of one 107-metre, LNG-powered Salish-class ferry. The expected delivery date for this vessel is in 2021.

The five new ships will replace the Bowen Queen, Mayne Queen and Powell River Queen. Replacing one older vessel with two new smaller vessels on the Nanaimo Harbour-Gabriola Island route and the Campbell River-Quadra Island route is set to result in increases in capacity and frequency.

Meanwhile, three Salish-class ferries - Salish Orca, Salish Eagle and Salish Raven - joined the fleet last year, and two Island-class vessels are currently under construction.

Bidding process and expenditure approval

The latest RFEOI is the first step in the process to inform the industry of the vessel construction opportunity and solicit interest, capacity and capability from all shipyards.

Following the RFEOI, the next step will be a Request for Pre-Qualifications, followed by a Request for Proposals.

The acquisition of the vessels is an expenditure that requires the approval of the BC Ferries Commissioner under Section 55 of the Coastal Ferry Act. BC Ferries is due to make its application to the Commissioner in 2019 and, subject to a favourable decision, award a contract for these ferries by the end of 2019.






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