Seaspan Ferries begins electrification trials with battery-powered terminal trucks

Aug 30, 2021

Photo credit: Gordon Henderson, Heath Moffatt & Jordan Junck

As part of Seaspan Ferries’ efforts to reduce fleet emissions and explore alternative, low-carbon technologies, the company will pilot battery-powered trucks procured with the support of the Province of British Columbia and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

Seaspan Ferries Corporation has placed an order for the first Terberg battery powered terminal trucks in North America, as the company continues efforts to reduce its air emissions and improve local air quality.

Two European-manufactured Terberg YT203-EV 222 kWh electric terminal trucks have been ordered and are expected to be delivered in December 2021. The new Terberg battery-powered trucks will form part of a pilot project to demonstrate the high efficiency, reliability, and cost-effective performance of battery-powered trucks.

The pilot project is part of Seaspan Ferries’ commitment to continue reducing its air emissions profile. Upon successful validation of the two trucks in a rigorous port terminal environment, Seaspan intends to continue evaluation of replacing the remaining 22 diesel powered trucks with battery powered alternatives.

“We have started our path towards fleet emissions reductions with the introduction of our LNG/Battery hybrid vessel and successfully integrate batteries to our propulsion systems. This has given us the knowledge and desire to continue to explore different avenues of reducing emissions through alternative technology and now look forward to developing an electric terminal truck program,” said Harly Penner, director of fleet engineering & vessel development.

Supported through a Part 3 Agreement under the BC Low Carbon Fuel Standard, Seaspan Ferries will receive 1,556 credits, valued at $440,348, for the two terminal trucks for actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Part 3 Agreement supports acquisition of 10 trucks over five years as well as the accompanying charging equipment.

“We’re offering support through our CleanBC Go Electric program and BC Low Carbon Fuel Standard Part 3 Agreement to make it easier for B.C. businesses to make the switch to clean energy,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “Seaspan’s battery-powered trucks will help demonstrate environmental and economic benefits to making that switch, putting B.C. on the path to a clean energy future.”

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority provided $250,000 towards this purchase to promote the adoption of low and zero emissions technologies through the Clean Technology Initiative, which is a joint funding partnership between the port authority and the Province of British Columbia.

“As part of our vision under the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is working to support the phase-out of all port-related emissions by 2050,” said Duncan Wilson, vice-president of environment, community and government affairs at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. “Adoption of alternative, low-emission fuels and technologies like battery-powered trucks is a key part of the clean energy transition at the port, and we are proud to support forward-thinking organizations like Seaspan Ferries in demonstrating the efficacy of these technologies.”

To characterize the emissions reductions and to assess the effect of electrification on local air quality, Seaspan Ferries intends to continue their air emissions measurement campaign with the University of British Columbia, which was formed when the company switched to using natural gas as fuel on their roro ships

“Battery powered vehicles are pivotal in meeting global decarbonization goals and while the bulk of the focus tends to be on residential sectors, industrial vehicles are a significant source of GHG pollutants over their life cycles,” said Ahmed Khan, project manager, Seaspan Ferries. “The systematic replacement of traditional fossil-fuelled trucks with low emission alternatives will lead to direct air quality improvements in the often neglected, industrial areas of operation.”

Seaspan Ferries has worked closely with the Province of B.C. and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority for de-risking the project. Being an early adopter of emerging technologies comes with high capital costs and we gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of B.C. through the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.

Seaspan Ferries hopes that the outputs of this important initiative will accelerate market transformation towards battery powered vehicles and inspire others to begin their electrification journey.