Norman MacMillan, Minister for Transport and responsible for the Outaouais region, and Georges Farrah, President and Chief Executive Officer of la Société des traversiers du Québec, have unveiled the design and successful technology choices in Tadoussac for the construction of two new ships for the Tadoussac–Baie-Sainte-Catherine crossing. The two new ferries, to be built in Quebec, will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) rather than diesel. Delivery of these new ships is planned for the fall of 2013 and spring of 2014. The new vessels will have a vehicle capacity of 47% more than the current ferries.
Mrs. Sophie Brochu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gaz Métro, applauded the initiative by the Government of Québec and by the Société des traversiers in choosing liquefied natural gas-powered ferries replacing marine diesel. “This is an initiative that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25%. Gaz Métro Transportation Solution (GMTS), a subsidiary of Gaz Métro, will thus deliver cleaner, more economical fuel,” she said.
“I am very pleased with this announcement today. Greater use of liquefied natural gas meets the sustainable development needs of the ministère des Transports perfectly and is part of our government’s objectives to reduce greenhouse gases. This is a concrete gesture to decrease oil dependence and to replace it with a cleaner form of energy,” explained Minister MacMillan.
Mr. Farrah specified that the two new ships will improve ferry service as a whole. “Some periods during the year are especially critical as demand is currently exceeding the capacity of the existing ships which is 367 passengers and 75 automobiles each. The new ships will each have a capacity of 440 passengers and 110 cars. Their useful capacity will almost double and will reach 1150 tons which will allow more trucks to be loaded. In addition, the ships’ configurations – especially ramp layout and the latest technological propulsion systems – will make them faster and easier to manoeuver. Loading and unloading of vehicles will be greatly facilitated,’’ explained Mr. Farrah.
“The ministère des Transports is aware of the importance of ensuring the movement of persons and goods efficiently and safely in a sustainable manner. The Tadoussac–Baie-Sainte-Catherine ferry crossing is open all year round and ensures the continuance of Highway 138, and represents an undeniable tourist attraction. It plays a pivotal role in Eastern Québec’s economy,” concluded Minister MacMillan.
The Tadoussac–Baie-Sainte-Catherine ferries employ 96 people and rank first among all STQ ferries for the number of yearly trips. In 2010, 40,622 crossings were made and 1,519,529 passengers have used the service.
The Government of Québec announced its financial participation in the Blue Road pilot project on October 17. This pilot is a demonstration project of the technological and economic use of LNG as alternative fuel for the heavy transportation sector. The implementation of this project responds to the sustainable development objectives of the 2009-2014 Québec Policy on Road Freight Transport, and of the Programme d’aide gouvernementale à l’amélioration de l’efficacité énergétique dans le transport routier, ferroviaire et maritime of the ministère des Transports (translation – Government assistance program to improve energy efficiency in road transport, rail and sea of the Department of Transportation), which provides financial assistance for the acquisition of alternative fuel-operating vehicles.
(This article compiled using information from a Gaz Métro press release)