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Brittany Ferries introducing hybrid ro-paxes

Two new vessels ships will run on gas, battery power or a combination of the two on the Portsmouth-Normandy ports lines from 2024-25

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Impression of the new hybrid LNG-electric ro-paxes, from Brittany Ferries
Impression of the new hybrid LNG-electric ro-paxes, from Brittany Ferries

The new hybrid LNG-battery electric vessels will replace BRETAGNE (Portsmouth-St Malo) and NORMANDIE (Portsmouth-Caen), the oldest ships in the fleet. They will offer more freight space in garage decks and higher capacity for passengers in off-season, and are ready for plug-in to shoreside power when it becomes available at the berths.


Each ship has been carefully designed to suit the route on which it will operate, taking account of future trends in freight and passenger traffic, says Brittany Ferries, Garage space, for example, will be longer and higher, which promises greater overall capacity for trucks and trailers.


The new ship on the Portsmouth-Caen route will host two garage decks to accommodate trucks. Its capacity will be 120 units, a 35 unit increase over NORMANDIE, the ship it will replace.


On the Portsmouth-St Malo route, freight capacity will nearly double to 63 units. Furthermore, the ship will be configured to carry trucks all year round, including in the height of the summer season.


As well as better serving freight, the new ships promise a far lower environmental footprint. They will operate on the same principle as a hybrid vehicle. At sea, power will come from cleaner LNG, but, in a first in the English Channel, they will also operate partially or completely on battery power, for example when arriving and departing ports.


They will also be ready to plug in to shore-side power when available in ports. This will allow recharging of batteries while at berth, as well as powering systems like air conditioning, heating and lighting on board.


The next ships to join the Brittany Ferries’ fleet will be the LNG-fuelled vessels SALAMANCA and SANTONA. These will serve UK-Spain routes on arrival in 2022 and 2023 respectively. Both will be fuelled by LNG and will also be chartered from Stena RoRo.

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