Clean maritime: zero-emission river ferry gets funding boost

An all-electric ferry across the Thames will offer passengers a sustainable alternative to existing diesel transport thanks to UK government funding.

About the project

Collins River Enterprises, trading as Thames Clippers, has been awarded funding of over £6 million to design and build a zero-emission electric cross-river ferry for the River Thames.

The ferry will operate from Canary Wharf to Rotherhithe and provide pedestrians and cyclists with a cleaner and more sustainable alternative to using their cars or the tube. The project will also involve the installation of necessary shoreside infrastructure including charging points.

Chief Operating Officer, Geoff Symonds said:

We’ll be replacing the existing diesel ferry on this route with a new zero-emission electric ferry. It’s not very convenient for people to bring their bikes on board the current cross-river ferry but the design of the new roll-on/roll-off electric ferry will encourage more people to cycle around the capital and provide a vital new connection.

Everybody is very excited about this initiative. Once the demonstrator is up and running, our aim is that this project will provide a long-term evaluation of energy efficiency, emissions reductions, operating costs as well as impacts on society.

We’re hoping it will provide a continuing development platform and a blueprint for sustainable ferry crossings within London, across the UK and beyond.

Project partners include:

About the funding

The Zero Emission Cross-River Ferry project is part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition round three (CMDC3). CMDC3 has allocated £60 million to 19 projects from across the UK to deliver real world demonstration projects in clean maritime solutions between April 2023 and March 2025.

CMDC is funded by the Department for Transport as part of the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions programme and is being delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.

What happens next

This project, which will be completed by March 2025, builds on earlier research funded through the first round of CMDC. Several jobs are expected to be created or maintained at the shipyard as a result.

Geoff added:

It was extremely satisfying to get this funding as we have been working on this idea for more than 10 years now but it’s never been possible before. Getting this grant has opened up doors that have been closed to us for so long.

This project is really important, not just for Thames Clippers and our partners but for the whole of London as well. It really could be the new way forward for electric transport.

Top image:  How the new zero-emission electric cross-river ferry for the River Thames will look. Image courtesy of Thames Clippers.

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