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Singapore’s First Electric Ferries Set Sail for Shell Island Refinery

Local and UK boatbuilders commissioned to create first for Southeast Asian state

A mock up of the Electric Dream ferry designed by Incat Crowther and which the UK boat builder says is destined for Singapore. Photo: Incat Crowther


Singapore will be the latest city to have electric ferries plying its waters when three vessels begin services to oil giant Royal Dutch Shell’s Bukom island refinery.

The 200-seat ferries, the first in the Southeast Asian state, will be powered by lithium-ion batteries with a capacity of 1.2MWh that can achieve speeds more than 20 knots (37kmh) with zero on-site emissions and almost no noise.

Shell ordered the ferries in Singapore to replace diesel boats it uses to transport employees and visitors between mainland Singapore and its oil refining and chemicals plant. While no details were given on the price of the ships, Nikkei reported that similar vessels proposed for a project in Thailand cost about $1.5 million each.


Penguin, Incat

The new boats will be operational in the first half of 2023, Shell said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Shipping’s future will involve different parts of the sector using different fuels, and electrification is a solution to decarbonise short voyages, including port operations,” said Nick Potter, general manager of Shell Shipping and Maritime for Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

Shell awarded the contract to design, build and operate the ferries to Singapore’s Penguin International with UK boat designer Incat Crowther.

Bukom in southwestern Singapore is the site of Shell’s largest wholly-owned refinery with a capacity of 500,000 barrels-per-day.

About 3,000 ferry passengers travel the 5.5 km to Bukom each day, Shell said.


  • Reuters with additional reporting by Mark McCord


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Mark McCord

Mark McCord is a financial journalist with more than three decades experience writing and editing at global news wires including Bloomberg and AFP, as well as daily newspapers in Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne. He has covered some of the biggest breaking news events in recent years including the Enron scandal, the New York terrorist attacks and the Iraq War. He is based in the UK. You can tweet to Mark at @MarkMcC64371550.


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