Jeannette Baljeu, deputy of the province of South Holland, christened the all-electric waterbus Blue Venice on 10 March. Built by Damen Shipyards Group, the fast ferry, together with two sister ships, will service the Dordrecht-Papendrecht-Zwijndrecht (Drechtsteden) route from the beginning of April.
It is the first all-electric ferry service with more than two stops in the Netherlands.
The three waterbuses will be joined by another six new, larger, hybrid-powered ferries during the summer. These vessels, also built by Damen, will replace the current fleet on the Rotterdam-Dordrecht-Kinderdijk route. Once these vessels enter into service, a new stop will also be added to the route: the Rivium stop in Capelle aan den IJssel.
By 2030 at the latest, these six waterbuses will also be converted to fully electric propulsion. They are already prepared for that now.
No harmful emissions
‘The arrival of the new zero-emission and hybrid vessels for the Waterbus contribute to the province’s goals,’ says deputy Jeannette Baljeu. ‘The ambition is for all public transport in South Holland to be free of harmful emissions by 2030. With the Blue Venice today, we are taking an important step in reducing CO2, particulate matter and nitrogen emissions in the Drechtsteden.’
From the start of the summer timetable, at the beginning of April, the electric waterbuses will be deployed. Every two hours, the fast ferries will be briefly recharged in Papendrecht, without inconveniencing passengers. In cooperation with the municipality of Papendrecht, Aqualiner recently built a completely new charging station at that stop.
Lounge seating and mobile charging
‘Besides being emission-free, these new electric ferries offer our passengers a lot of extra comfort and options,’ says Gerbrand Schutten of Aqualiner. ‘There is a variety of seating options, including a lounge sofa. In addition, there is plenty of room for bicycles. Mobile equipment and electric bikes can be charged on board. Finally, there is a spacious (disabled) toilet on board. And what our travellers will also notice is that from April, we will once again sail with the name “Waterbus” prominently displayed.’
On board, by the way, the sustainability theme is not only reflected in the propulsion. Damen has made the vessels as light as possible, including through the use of carbon. In addition, the interior is based on circular principles, with recycled products and the use of many natural materials such as wool and wood.
Photo by Romy van de Boogaart.