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Shell to launch Singapore’s first fully electric ferries

Shell to launch Singapore's first fully electric ferries
Image courtesy of Shell

Shell has awarded a contract to Singapore company Penguin International Limited to design, build and operate at least three fully electric ferries which, when operational, will be the first fully electric ferry service in Singapore and a first for Shell globally.

Expected to set sail in the first half of 2023, the new 200-seater single-deck ferries will be used to transport passengers between mainland Singapore to Shell’s Energy and Chemicals Park on the island of Bukom, replacing the conventional diesel-powered ferries currently used.

Shared ambition

“Shipping’s future will involve different parts of the sector using different fuels, and electrification is a solution to decarbonise short voyages, including port operations,” said Nick Potter, general manager of Shell Shipping and Maritime, Asia Pacific & Middle East. “Switching to zero-emission, fully electric ferries is part of Shell’s ambition to help accelerate progress towards net-zero emissions in the shipping sector. I thank Penguin and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore in supporting this shared ambition.”

“Our privately funded Electric Dream project is much more than just electric ferries and shore chargers,” said James Tham, managing director of Penguin International Limited. “It is Singapore’s first real-world commercial application of marine electrification. Penguin and our project partners Incat Crowther and Razor Blunt Labs have designed a safe and reliable end-to-end solution that meets Shell’s standards.”

A low-carbon future

“The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is committed to lower the carbon footprint of our local harbourcraft and our port operations. Shell’s bold move to commission new fully electric ferries will take us a step closer to making a low-carbon future a reality for our maritime sector,” said Quah Ley Hoon, chief executive, Maritime and Port Authority.

The approximately 5.5-kilometre-long ferry route off the Straits of Singapore is a busy connection which transports around 3,000 passengers a day, or an estimated 1.8 million passenger trips annually.

The fully electric ferries are powered by a lithium-ion battery system with a capacity of 1.2 MWh and run at speeds of over 20 knots with zero emissions and noise. While berthing at Shell Bukom, the ferries will be charged via a combination of fast charging during peak hours, and slow charging during off-peak hours and overnight.