New eco-hybrid ferry trio for Kiel Canal

Kiel Canal: busy but still green -with new eco ferries (Photo: Tom Todd) Kiel Canal: busy but still green -with new eco ferries (Photo: Tom Todd)
Industry Database

Three 30m hybrid ferries ordered in Estonia are the first of sixteen in a planned fleet renewal for Germany’s busy Kiel Canal, writes Tom Todd.

The German waterways and shipping administration WSV in Bonn placed the €21 million order with Estonia’s Baltic Workboats. The first of the 45 ton capacity ferries is expected to be delivered in 2020.

WSV President Hans-Heinrich Witte said: “These three newbuildings are the forerunners of a new generation of ferries on the Kiel Canal. They will transport pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles comfortably and in a low-emission environment across the waterway”, he added.

According to the WSV the new boats will have “particularly eco-friendly hybrid propulsion systems which would significantly reduce fuel consumption and waste gas emissions”. They will be equipped with battery-powered electric drives in which the batteries can be charged either by a Diesel generator on board or by automated shore-based power points, it said.

The WSV reported the newbuilds will be 9.5m wide and draw maximum 1.48m, have a speed of 13kms/h, a clearance height of 4.3m and a load capacity of 45 tons. It also said they would have two cycloidal propellers, type VSP 12R4, of 1200mm diameter and a diesel generator of 257kW and that each drive motor would be of 140kW.

No engine makers were stipulated but WSV spokeswoman Claudia Thoma told Maritime Journal further technical details would be available later after planning completion.

The WSV did reveal however that “it is planned to replace the entire ferry fleet on the Kiel Canal in the medium or long term”.

The canal, nearly 100 kms long between Brunsbüttel on the Elbe and Kiel on the Baltic, is the busiest man-made waterway in the world. Twelve ferries with 45 ton loading are currently operating, along with two100 ton capacity ferries and two reserve 45 ton vessels. The WSV reported that all were regularly serviced and in good operational condition, an indication that their replacement might not be needed for some time.

For completion in 2020 however at a cost of about €11 million is the rebuilding of another local  ‘ferry’ operation - the more than 100 year old transporter bridge across the canal near Rendsburg. It was damaged in an accident involving a cargo ship in 2016.

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