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Ferry exciting future – electric vessels built into Kelsian Contracts

Tuesday 31 January 2023

As the operator of the Australia’s largest electric bus depot, sustainable transport is a key driver in the Kelsian Group’s contract offering, which now includes options for electric ferries.

Kelsian Group CEO Clint Feuerherdt said the company’s commitment to innovation and sustainability is evident in the recent award of a 15 year contract to continue to operate the Lane Cove ferry service.

SeaLink Sydney, operating locally as Captain Cook Cruises, successfully secured a 15-year contract for the Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) Lane Cove ferry service, having run the service for the last 17 years. It provides important public transport access for Lane Cove River residents and school children.

The new contract with TfNSW contains an option to move to low emissions technology during the term, which may include the construction of an electric powered ferry, capable of operating the service in battery mode.

“We have a proud history of protecting the sensitive marine environments we operate in, achieved by investing in research and technology that leverages our global experience in transport solutions to decarbonise local networks.

“Our international collaborations with key industry partners ensure we are delivering the most advanced solutions to our local customers and communities.

“We have concept plans for hydrogen and electric capabilities, and we are ready to help in delivering on zero-emission targets,” he said.

SeaLink Marine & Tourism Chief Operating Officer, Donna Gauci, said SeaLink is genuinely committed to investing in more sustainable marine transport solutions.

“We are working with governments, stakeholders and clients to pursue the design and construction of low and zero emission vessels including hydrogen and electric, and we’re excited to include options in our contract offering for the Lane Cove service,” she said.

Kelsian Group is a leader in sustainable public transport and operator of Australia’s largest zero emission bus fleet and Australia’s largest electrified bus depot.

Local manufacturing is also a priority, with eighteen new vessels constructed by SeaLink in Australia since 2017.

Ms Gauci added that local manufacturers and suppliers are always the first call in assessing local capabilities to deliver advanced designs.

“We collaborate with our local partners on innovative and more sustainable designs when building our vessels that also incorporate more accessibility features, championing local businesses and suppliers where we can,” she said.

Mr Feuerherdt added that working with local communities was also a priority to ensure vessels honoured the traditional landowners.

“It is important to us that we are innovative while remaining respectful.

“We seek to collaborate with the local community and stakeholders throughout the vessel design stages, and during the naming and dressing of them to ensure we are respective to the traditional landowners.

“Many of our state of the art vessels showcase displays of stunning local artwork, while honouring a name that has been provided or approved by First Peoples,” he said.

Rodney Dillon, from the South East Aboriginal Corporation (SETAC) has previously thanked SeaLink for giving the community the opportunity for naming the new Bruny Island vessel, ‘Parrabah’, the South East Aboriginal language name for whale.

Servicing North Stradbroke Island, SeaLink’s passenger ferry “Yalingbila” is the local indigenous name for whale, while the vehicle ferry named “Minjerribah” comes from the Aboriginal name for North Stradbroke Island.

SeaLink’s new Redland Bay passenger ferry ‘Talwurrapin’ was named in consultation with the local Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC), with two more new vehicle ferries to the same region named Mirrabooka meaning Southern Cross, and Yarabinjara meaning Sea Creatures, names also chosen in consultation with QYAC.

Kelsian Group is committed to Reconciliation and actively engages with Traditional Owners. Through collaboration with Land Councils, respected Elders and Indigenous artists, we demonstrate respect to Australia’s First Nations history via traditional naming of marine vessels and artwork adorning our passenger vehicles and ferries.

Kelsian Group is committed to partnering with Indigenous businesses and proactively seeks opportunities to develop these partnerships.