Portugal’s First Electric Ferry Sets Sail: Salicórnia Marks a Green Milestone

November 22, 2023by CN_MAR

Portugal has marked a maritime milestone with the delivery of its first zero-emission, electric ferry, the Salicórnia, by Grupo ETE. The vessel, developed entirely by national companies, becomes the inaugural electric ferry on the Iberian Peninsula, signaling a commitment to sustainable maritime solutions. 

The €7.3-million Salicórnia will undergo navigation and loading tests in Aveiro before officially replacing an existing ferry service that links São Jacinto and the Fort of Barra in Ílhavo. With a capacity to transport 260 passengers and 19 vehicles, the electric ferry offers a 30% increase in passenger capacity and a 90% increase in vehicle capacity compared to its predecessor, contributing to a more efficient and environmentally friendly transport system. 

Navaltagus Shipyard, managed by Grupo ETE, undertook the construction of the ferry, showcasing the capabilities of Portugal’s largest maritime and logistics entity. Luís Figueiredo, a shareholder and Board Member of Grupo ETE, emphasized the company’s dedication to innovation, sustainability, and public service in the development of the Salicórnia. 

Aveiro Mayor, José Ribau Esteves, praised the electric ferryboat project as an exemplary approach to public investment. He emphasized the importance of prioritizing citizens and environmental sustainability, aligning with Aveiro City Council’s commitment to combating climate change. The new ferryboat, named as a result of this investment, stands as a symbol of responsible conduct for everyone involved. 

The Electric Ferryboat project received co-financing from POSEUR, Portugal 2020, and the European Union through the Cohesion Fund, amounting to €2.25 million. The total investment by Aveiro City Council, covering the ferryboat and charging system, is approximately €9 million. 

The delivery of Salicórnia aligns with the global push for sustainable maritime practices. In July 2023, IMO Member States adopted the 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, setting ambitious targets to achieve net-zero GHG emissions from international shipping by around 2050. The Salicórnia and similar vessels play a crucial role in meeting these targets by integrating clean technology that aids ports in achieving IMO goals for sustainable transport. 


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