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CIB lending BC Ferries $75M for vessel electrification program


The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) announced it has reached financial close on a $75 million loan to BC Ferry Services Inc. to help finance the purchase of four zero-emission ferries and install the required charging infrastructure.

The Island class vessels, which will be used on small volume and shorter routes, are part of the company’s ongoing efforts to replace its existing Island class fleet with quieter and more environmentally friendly ferries. The existing diesel-hybrid vessels will be transferred to other routes to replace ferries that have reached their end of life.

The CIB’s loan will cover the higher upfront capital costs of the ferries compared to diesel, including charging infrastructure, helping to accelerate the electrification of one of the world’s largest ferry networks. Repayment of the investment will come from standard operating revenues comprised of passenger fares and retail revenues.

The investment is the CIB’s first in zero-emission ferries, which expands its transit portfolio beyond zero-emission buses.

BC Ferries provides year-round passenger and vehicle ferry services using 37 vessels serving 25 routes out of 47 terminals spread over 1,600 km of B.C. coastline. In fiscal 2024, BCF carried 9.5 million vehicles and 22.6 million passengers on more than 90,000 round trips.

Ehren Cory, CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank, stated: “Partnering with BC Ferries on the CIB’s first electric ferry financing will help to accelerate the electrification of one of the world’s largest ferry networks. In addition to their environmental benefits, the new vessels will be quieter and offer more enjoyable commutes for local residents and visitors to communities in the greater Vancouver area.” 

“Our partnership with the CIB to deliver these new Island Class vessels will increase system capacity, improve our flexibility to move ships across routes and make it easier to train and deploy our teams,” said Nicolas Jimenez, President and CEO, BC Ferries.

(Photo from BC Ferries)