Public transport networks around the world are becoming more and more sustainable. This is due to stricter emissions regulations as well as increasing public demand for cleaner and greener modes of transport. This growing attention to sustainability is also being seen in the ferry sector, which plays a vital public transport role in many countries. In the Netherlands, the issue of sustainable ferry transport is of particular relevance because:
- The Dutch inland ferry sector comprises more than 300 ferry services.
- EU emissions regulations concerning inland shipping are going to get stricter in the next two years.
“There are many options open to these ferry operators,” states C-Job Project Manager Pim Schulp. “These include exhaust gas treatment systems such as scrubbers, hybrid systems, alternative fuels or the fully electric option. Whatever option they choose, we are in a very strong position, with the necessary experience and expertise, to offer made-to-measure solutions.”
Ferries for the Amsterdam area
Highlighting these skills is one of C-Job’s recent contracts: the concept design of a series of five sustainable car and passenger ferries assigned by the GVB Amsterdam.
“The vessels, which will actually be the largest fully electric Ro-Ro vessels in the Netherlands, will operate 100% on electricity, thus providing an emission-free urban transport solution. To this end, our design will be helping the City of Amsterdam achieve its ambitions of zero emission ferry transport from 2025 onwards.”
C-Job has designed the electric Ro-Ro ferries to recharge their batteries during the unloading and loading of passengers and vehicles. In order to maintain efficiency of service and a quick turnaround, this charging process will take place during a timeframe of a maximum of four minutes. This notably short charging period will be enough for the vessels to operate a 24/7 service with no overnight charging required.
Flexibility is key
The new vessels will replace existing ferries that currently operate on three different routes west of Amsterdam. Managed by transport operator GVB, these ferry services are utilised by a wide range of users: including pedestrians, cyclists, cars and trucks. “We have designed these ferries to have a flexible passenger and vehicle capacity,” Pim continues. “They have a total loading capacity of 245 tonnes and can carry up to 20 cars, four trucks or 400 passengers. What makes this design special is the movable dividing railings between foot passengers and vehicles, allowing the crew to adjust the space allocated depending on the requirements at that moment.”
The ferries will also be able to transport oversize loads of up to 100 tonnes with an axle weight of 12 tonnes.
24/7 – whatever the weather
The scope of the ferry design not only incorporated the client’s requirement for an electric-powered vessel. “We wanted to design a ferry with ease of maintenance and economical operations in mind. To this end, we specified an aluminium superstructure, bulwark and railings instead of steel. This is not only lighter, but also requires less maintenance.”
In addition to their ‘plug-in’ electric capabilities, the new ferries will also be able to recharge their own batteries using an on-board diesel generator. This will be used during non-standard operations such as sailing to a nearby shipyard for service or maintenance. “This will also guarantee safe and continual operations. For example, in wind conditions stronger than Beaufort force 8 or 9, the generator can be called on to charge the batteries. After all, it is important that these ferries will always be able to sail, no matter the weather.”