The future of the Channel Islands ferry services might look different

April 26, 2024

DFDS has asked Incat to conduct a design study for a hybrid-electric ferry intended to be deployed for the Channel Islands, if DFDS wins an upcoming tender for the future ferry services on the Islands.

The 72-metre ferry, which will have the option to convert to fully electric, is suited to a number of ferry routes across Europe, says Incat (press release Incat).

The design study will analyse various specifications incl. capacity, propulsion, layout of passenger areas, etc. In terms of propulsion, DFDS expect to focus on a hybrid solution until sufficient charging infrastructure is available in the relevant ports.

“We know that battery electric or electric-hybrid propulsion coupled with lightweight aluminium on shorter sea routes will be the ideal choice to cut emissions, and it’s great to see major operators such as DFDS sharing in our goal to shape the future of decarbonisation in maritime transport.”

Incat CEO Stephen Casey

“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. 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.”

Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS

About the tender for ferry services to the Channel Islands:

  • The tender has not been launched yet, although it was expected in April.
  • In January the governments of Guernsey and Jersey announced they were looking for expressions of interest for ferry companies to run services to the islands.
  • Current operator is Condor Ferries(see route map). It has an agreement with Jersey and memorandum of understanding with Guernsey to provide services until 2025.
  • Condor Ferries has Brittany Ferries as shareholder, and Brittany Ferries CEO Christophe Mathieu is interim CEO for Condor Ferries too.
  • Last year DFDS RoRo Finlandia did berthing trials in St Peter Port and St Helier.
  • This month, Brittany Ferries’ RoPax Barfleur did similar trials.
  • People at a small public meeting organised by DFDS said they wanted a reliable ferry service to the UK on a conventional ferry, and that Saint-Malo is the preferred port on the French side. (source: BBC)