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Maritime Propulsion

March 18, 2024

New Electric Ferry Service Launching in Halifax

(Image: Government of Nova Scotia)

A new environmentally friendly electric ferry service is planned to launch in Halifax, Canada.

The province of Nova Scotia, along with the federal government and Halifax Regional Municipality, announced on March 4 a joint investment to build the Mill Cove Ferry Service, which will include five fully electric ferries, two terminals and a maintenance facility. 

All-electric propulsion, which slashes vessel emissions, noise and vibration, has been taking off in the ferry industry as the operational profile for these vessels—often including frequent, repeated and relatively short trips and docking times—is particularly well suited for electrification.

A Halifax spokesperson told MarineLink that the vessels' technical specifications are still being finalized but will be released in an upcoming request for proposal (RFP), and that Colliers Project Managers is supporting the project. "We can say that we will be looking for a fully electric vessel with low wake to accommodate 150 passengers," the spokesperson said.

The project, which is expected to be completed in the 2027-2028 fiscal year, will receive $155.7 million in funding from the Canadian federal government, $65 million from the province of Nova Scotia and more than $38 million from the Halifax Regional Municipality.

“This project addresses road traffic in the area and helps us plan for future population growth,” said Environment and Climate Change Minister Timothy Halman, on behalf of Public Works Minister Kim Masland. “The new ferry route will also encourage people to use public transportation and help us meet our climate change goals by using fast zero-emission electric ferries.”

The new ferry terminals will be net-zero – one at Mill Cove, and the other will replace the aging Halifax ferry terminal. A bridge will also be built over the CN rail line in Bedford to connect buses, cars, pedestrians and cyclists to the Mill Cove terminal. Build Nova Scotia is providing the land for the Mill Cove terminal.

“By investing in state-of-the-art net-zero ferry terminals and zero-emission electric ferries, we’re not just enhancing connectivity; we’re paving the way for a cleaner, greener future,” said Lena Metlege Diab, Member of Parliament for Halifax West, on behalf of Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities. “The Halifax Transit Mill Cove Ferry Service is a direct response to the priorities that the people of Halifax West have raised with me. It’s going to get more people out of traffic and put less pollution into our air.”

Mike Savage, Mayor, Halifax Regional Municipality, said, “With the growth we are continuing to see, so is the need to make sustainable transportation competitive with personal vehicles. Not only will this improved ferry service help people get around faster, it will also promote continuous growth surrounding the terminal and establish a consistent community hub.”