KiwiRail newbuilding project on track

KiwiRail is planning to modernise its rail-enabled ferry fleet Photo: OSK GroupKiwiRail is planning to modernise its rail-enabled ferry fleet Photo: OSK Group

State-owned KiwiRail’s plan to modernise its fleet with the building of two new future-proof ships designed by OSK-ShipTech is on track thanks to a NZ$400 million contribution to the 2020 budget.

KiwiRail issued a request for proposal to find a preferred shipyard to build the two new rail-enabled RoPax ferries for the operator Interislander, the next step in the procurement process and a central move towards realising the two newbuildings.

Danish naval architects and ship designers OSK-ShipTech have developed the concept for the two new rail-enabled ferries, which will be able to carry twice the number of passengers, nearly double the number of trucks and other vehicles as well as a 300% increase in rail wagons compared to the existing vessels.

When entering into service in 2024 and 2025, the new 220m ferries with a service speed of 20 knots will replace the existing fleet of three ships. “Central for the design is maximum fuel efficiency and minimum emissions of CO2, and aside from being able to run on batteries at times, the new ferries will be future-proof and adaptable to new fuel sources continuously and as they become available,” said Anders Ørgård, chief commercial officer of OSK-ShipTech.

As part of the project, new terminals tailored to the vessels will also be developed in order to optimise the infrastructure and fully benefit of the new designs.

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