All aboard for the Bangor-Belfast ferry...
ENVIRONMENTALLY-conscious commuters will soon have the option to travel the 13 miles from Bangor to Belfast not by road or rail... but by the world’s most advanced zero-emission commuter ferry.
Condor Ferries, best known for operating commercial routes between Poole and Portsmouth to Guernsey and Jersey in the Channel Islands and also St Malo in France, is planning to operate the 30-minute service from 2024.
It comes after Condor joined the Belfast Maritime Consortium, led by Artemis Technologies, which is developing a new class of green vessels in the city.
The service, operating between Bangor Marina and Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, will act as a pilot scheme for the revolutionary fast passenger ferries currently under development by Artemis.
The vessels will be powered by the transformative Artemis eFoiler, enabling them to effectively 'fly' above the water, allowing for a more comfortable ride, producing minimal wake at high-speed, and also using up to 90 per cent less energy than some conventional ferries.
And when operational, the service will provide a greener solution to commuters along one of the busiest road routes in north, an alternative to sitting nose to tail in traffic.
Dr Iain Percy. chief executive and founder of Artemis Technologies said: “The announcement that Condor is joining us in the Belfast Maritime Consortium is a hugely significant endorsement of the work we are doing and marks another milestone on our journey towards leading the decarbonisation of maritime.
“With vast experience operating commercial routes, Condor Ferries is well placed to run the inaugural service for the first commuter ferry to be produced at our manufacturing facility in Belfast.
“Working alongside our partners in Belfast City Council, Ards and North Down Borough Council, Belfast Harbour and Power NI, the pilot scheme will give us a better understanding of the needs of ferry operators and local authorities from a vessel design, usage, and infrastructure perspective.”
He added: “Belfast will get a glimpse of the future when the pilot service commences, but that is just the beginning.
“We are already receiving interest from around the globe as governments and cities seek sustainable transport alternatives that balance the requirement for people to continue to move around with the need to reduce carbon emissions.”
John Napton, chief executive at Condor Ferries, which in 2020 was acquired by a European sustainable infrastructure fund, added: “We are always looking to the future, including exploring ways of reducing our carbon emissions, and as an experienced commercial ferry company, we're happy to join the consortium and help to develop this concept into an operational mode of transport.”