On the Cusp: LNG and Canada’s Ferries

Transportation on waterways has always been a crucial part of living in Canada. From the First Nations travelling by canoes through rivers and lakes to the early Europeans using the St. Lawrence River to explore North America: there has always been an emphasis on transporting people and goods by boat.

Canoes and schooners turned to paddle boats and steam engines. Vessels got larger and the number of passengers grew.

Canada’s ferries are always working toward greener tomorrow.

Canada’s ferries are always working toward greener tomorrow.

Today, nearly 50 million people and over 18 million vehicles travel annually on Canada’s ferry routes. Every day, ferries bring workers to work, tourists to their destination and goods to market.

“It should be clear that LNG as a fuel source will change the way ferries operate in Canada.”

“It should be clear that LNG as a fuel source will change the way ferries operate in Canada.”

Canada’s ferries are always working toward a greener tomorrow and minimizing their carbon footprint. Now, more than ever, we are seeing innovative technologies – such as LNG-fuelled vessels – being developed to help ferry operators achieve this goal. LNG has been heralded by major players in the industry – including BC Ferries President and CEO, Mike Corrigan, who recently said, “We call this a game-changer for BC Ferries, as after labour our biggest operating cost is diesel fuel. We believe LNG is the fuel of the future.”

Already, Canadian operators have ordered eight new LNG ferries, and taking steps to convert two existing ferries to LNG. One of the ferries that STQ has ordered is even being built at Davie Shipyards, based in Québec.

LNG Ferries in Canada:

  • STQ:
    • Two 92m LNG ferries on order from Davie Shipyards (Québec)
    • One 133m LNG ferry being built by Fincantieri Shipyard in Italy
  • BC Ferries:
    • Three 105m LNG ferries on order from Remontowa Shipbuilding in Poland
    • Converting two existing ferries to LNG
  • Seaspan:
    • Two 148m LNG ferries on order from Sedef Shipyard in Turkey

“We believe LNG is the fuel of the future.”

It should be clear that LNG as a fuel source will change the way ferries operate in Canada. Ferry operators are choosing to make the switch to LNG as a fuel source because of the lessened environmental impact and significant financial savings. According to BC Ferries CEO Mike Corrigan, the use of LNG will save them over $9 million a year. This will help keep fares low and allow further investment in future vessels.

Serge Buy, CEO Canadian Ferry Operators Association.