World’s first 'hybrid' ferries


The Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure & Capital Investment Alex Neil today confirmed Clyde-based Ferguson Shipbuilders as the preferred bidder to build a world's first in environmentally friendly ferries - in a deal worth over £20 million.

Mr Neil said:

"I'm delighted to announce Ferguson Shipbuilders as the preferred bidder to build the world's first of its kind in hybrid ferries in a contract worth more than 20 million pounds. The deal will not only secure around 75 existing jobs in the Port Glasgow and Inverclyde area, but create around 100 more. In addition, we expect Ferguson Shipbuilders to create around 20 new apprenticeships directly as a result of this contract.

"This award is a perfect illustration of how we are making good on our commitment to create the vital jobs needed to boost local economies and crucially, to help stimulate growth across Scotland.

"The two new ferries will come into operation in 2013 and are the world's first seagoing passenger and vehicle roll-on roll-off ferries to incorporate a low-carbon hybrid system of diesel electric and battery power. The technology will be cleaner, quieter and cheaper to operate and maintain than ever before. It will help Scotland to meet our ambitious climate change targets, and demonstrates the vast economic potential of developing green technology and moving to a low carbon economy.

"This project will provide a boost for commercial shipbuilding on the Clyde - it has been over four years since the last commercial ship was fully built and delivered. Today we should celebrate that Scotland's world renowned engineering skills will not only continue as a direct result of the new jobs the contract will create, but flourish when a new generation of skilled shipbuilders soon begin their apprenticeships."

Guy Platten, CEO of Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) - who developed the detailed specification of the new ferry said:

"This project provides a fantastic commercial opportunity for Scottish shipbuilding and we are delighted to announce Ferguson as the preferred bidder for the contract to build the world's first sea-going Roll on -Roll off vehicle and passenger hybrid ferry.

"CMAL is committed to leading the way in innovative ferry design and building for the future and we hope to see the first of these vessels in operation in Spring / Summer 2013."

Richard Deane, Managing Director of Ferguson Shipbuilders Ltd added:

"The Clyde has a proud shipbuilding heritage and it is wonderful to be part of such a ground breaking project, which will see the world's first hybrid ferries sailing in Scotland.

"The project will have a major impact on the local economy, including the creation of a number of new jobs throughout the course of the build and we look forward to signing the contracts and starting work in due course."

This contract, worth over £20 million was advertised in the European Journal and won competitively by Ferguson Shipbuilders against strong foreign competition. The announcement follows a recent tender process which included marketing events hosted by Scottish Enterprise and partners, and included a range of Scottish shipbuilding and technology companies. This led to a number of Scottish and European shipyards submitting responses for the contract.

Ferguson Shipbuilders, Port Glasgow are the preferred bidder for the construction of two sea-going Roll-on Roll-off passenger and vehicle diesel electric and battery powered Hybrid Ferries.

The two ferries will each accommodate 150 passengers and 23 cars or two HGVs, with a service speed of nine knots. The vessel will be powered by small diesel generator sets, feeding power to a 400 volt switchboard, which will supply power to electric propulsion motors that turn the propellers. In addition the battery banks will provide power to operate the vessel.

The ferries, which will be operated by the current operator of the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services, CalMac Ferries, are designed for use on many of the short crossing routes around the Clyde and Hebrides and will use some of the most innovative new 'green' technology, including battery banks supplying a minimum of 20 per cent of the energy consumed on board.

Benefits of the hybrid ferries include reduced fuel consumption and impact of CO2 emission and other pollutants, noise reduction and lower maintenance requirements. The ferries will charge overnight while they are moored on the islands they will serve. It is anticipated future energy from local wind, wave or solar systems will be used to charge the batteries, reducing further the carbon footprint.

The first of the two new vessels is expected to be operational on the Sconser-Raasay route on Skye by the middle of 2013, with the second vessel coming into operation later the same year.

Ferguson will be working alongside Glasgow-based ship design specialists Seatec and electrical specialists Tec-Source to deliver the project.

CMAL owns the ferries, ports and harbours and infrastructure necessary for vital ferry services serving the West coast of Scotland and the Clyde Estuary. CMAL are wholly owned by Scottish Ministers.

Scottish Government is providing CMAL with a loan of £20 million for the procurement of these vessels.