KiwiRail has signed a contract with Korea’s Hyundai Mipo Dockyard to build two new Interislander ferries which will replace the existing, ageing fleet.
The new ferries are expected to arrive in New Zealand in 2025 and 2026.
Transport Minister, Michael Wood said the new ferries will help reduce transport emissions and support more goods and people crossing the Cook Strait.
“Our transport emissions are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand so we need to start taking action now if we are going to meet our 2050 targets,” Minister Wood said.
“These new ferries will reduce the Interislander’s carbon emissions by 40% with initiatives like using battery power for manoeuvring. They are also future-proofed so that more batteries can be added over time and can be modified to run on other low-carbon fuels like hydrogen as they become available in the future.
“The Cook Strait ferries are crucial to our economy, carrying 5.5 million tonnes of freight and 850,000 passengers between the North and South Islands every year.”
He said the new ferries would nearly double passenger capacity and triple rail freight capacity of the current fleet, helping support the expected growth in the route.
“Being able to accommodate rail wagons on the new ferries will encourage more freight onto trains and off roads, which will also help reduce emissions,” Mr Wood said.