Auckland Transport, Fullers partnership to accelerate decarbonising of Auckland’s ferry fleet

Photography by: Fullers360


Auckland Transport and Fullers360 have announced a new public-private partnership that will secure long-term investment and commitment to Auckland’s ferry network and accelerate the decarbonising of Auckland’s ferry fleet.

According to the companies, the agreement signals the beginning of a new era for Auckland’s ferry network where 850,000 customer journeys, more than half of Auckland’s ferry passengers (on the Devonport, Hobsonville Point, Half Moon Bay and Gulf Harbour services), will benefit from the new AT business operating model for delivery of Auckland ferry services.

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It also signals and enables a significant step-change in public investment in those services in-line with AT and Fullers360’s shared vision for a modern and enhanced future ferry network.

Auckland Transport interim chief executive Mark Lambert said the renewed partnership between AT and Fullers360 represents a shift in the way AT procures its ferry services.

"Through this successful joint negotiation for a public-private partnership, we’re moving to a model of public ownership of Auckland’s strategic ferry assets with its ferry fleet to be increasingly owned by Aucklanders, for Aucklanders, which is 12 years earlier than previously anticipated as a result of the negotiations" he said.

One key component of the agreements is the full integration of the Devonport to downtown Auckland route into AT’s ferry network, meaning the service will no longer be a privately operated route exempt from New Zealand’s regulatory Public Transport Operating Model (PTOM). Contracts for Fullers360-operated services between downtown Auckland and Hobsonville Point, Half Moon Bay and Gulf Harbour have also been renewed.

The agreement includes immediate benefits for the Waiheke Island to downtown Auckland service. A Quality Partnership Agreement has been signed between AT and Fullers360, aimed at enhancing the reliability, fare affordability and sustainability of services to and from Waiheke Island.


The agreement will also see Auckland Transport take the ownership and lead the procurement and delivery of five new electric-hybrid ferries, supported by funding enabled through the Climate Action Targeted Rate.

Fullers360 will manage the research and development, design and delivery of the new vessels, while the ownership of four existing Auckland ferries will also transfer from Fullers360 to Auckland Transport.

Fullers360 CEO Mike Horne said green ferry transport is the future, with the company’s ongoing partnership with AT helping to accelerate the transition.

"Public private partnerships are one of the many ways we can unlock solutions to the climate change crisis and move towards solutions that deliver a lower carbon transport network for Auckland and New Zealand," he said.

"Following the impact of COVID-19 on our business, solidifying a long-term partnership with AT means that we can continue to invest and pursue other new innovative solutions such as hydrogen powered technology."

Auckland Transport group manager metro services Darek Koper said the move to AT procuring the new electric ferries will help increase the pace of Auckland’s transition to an all-electric and electric-hybrid ferry fleet.

"The plug-in hybrid ferries utilising design and innovation developed by Fullers360, Incat Crowther and HamiltonJet are in addition to the two EV Maritime fully electric ferries recently announced, increasing the government and Council investment in new electric or electric-hybrid vessels to seven, which will allow us to significantly reduce our emissions," he said.

Q West will be builders for the first of these vessels.

"Passengers travelling on services like the Devonport route will be some of the first to travel on the new electric and plug-in electric-hybrid ferries, which will be comfortable, quiet and will deliver a fantastic experience for our passengersm" said Koper.

"The new partnership leverages the significant investment made to date by Fullers360 in design and development of new vessels for Auckland.

"The four existing fleet ferries are needed to maintain services while we build and transition to the new electric fleet, requiring investment to refurbish and retrofit with lower emission engines to help ensure that we are reducing our emissions and improving vessel reliability in the immediate term."

 

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