Thames Clippers is continuing to expand its fleet, placing an order for two new 170-seat passenger boats to be put into service next year, meaning a 30% growth in capacity in two years.
The move by the company headquartered at Trinity Buoy Wharf is the largest fast passenger ferry order for a UK shipyard in more than 25 years and will mean MBNA Thames Clippers will become the biggest commercial passenger fleet operating solely in English waters.
The boats capitalise on the growth of river transport in the capital, with new piers planned for east London to cater for the growth in development, especially around the Royal Docks.
The newly-rebranded Wight Shipyard Co on the Isle of Wight has won the contract which means an investment of more than £6.3million and 75 new jobs across London and the south coast. More than 100 business will be involved in the supply chain while MBNA Thames Clippers will be creating two new dedicated apprenticeship roles.
Founder and CEO, MBNA Thames Clippers Sean Collins said: “In 2016 alone the MBNA Thames Clippers fleet will carry over four million commuters and visitors around London.
“We are investing in an expanded fleet, built in the UK, as well as exploring new options for piers to enhance London’s infrastructure and maximise the River Thames as a thoroughfare. Our commitment to enhancing the London river transport network is moving at a considerable pace.”
“The experience and track record of the company means that we have found a new innovative yard with ambition who shares our vision for high quality, safe and environmentally efficient fast ferries.
“The complex nature of the tidal Thames means that it takes a specialist design and build team.”
The two new fast ferries will add 14% additional capacity to the company’s network. They swiftly follow the addition of two boats in late 2015, in total adding an additional 30% capacity in two years.
The two new boats will enter service in the summer of 2017 and means over £26million has been invested by MBNA Thames Clippers in their fleet over the past 10 years.
Peter Morton, CEO of Wight Shipyard Co, said: “We are particularly pleased that these are the first high speed ferries to be built for the company in England as in the past all new MBNA Thames Clippers fast craft have been built in Australia.
Having successfully completed the 40m Red Jet 6 for the Red Funnel Group we are confident that we will deliver high quality ferries for MBNA Thames Clippers and look forward to a long partnership with them.”