BC Ferries says they are in the first of a lengthy process that will eventually see six vessels replaced with seven diesel-hybrid electric boats.
In an emailed statement, public affairs executive director Deborah Marshall says the New Major Vessels program is the largest part of a capital plan to modernize and transform ferry experiences.
Marshall adds the hope is to provide a better customer experience, improve reliability and reduce the environmental impact. Marshall adds the boats will be ready for plug-in shore charging and run fully electric once the infrastructure exists.
BC Ferries has put out a request for expression of interest out to shipbuilders to build the seven new vessels. The request closes in December, and they will issue a request for supplier qualification in early 2024.
Marshall adds the bidding process is open to local, national and international companies. The first of the new ferries is expected to be operational in 2029.
BC Ferries says they will not say what the budget is right now because that would compromise the competitive bidding process.
More details will follow as they move through the process, according to BC Ferries.