Cape May – Lewes Ferry awarded $6M grant to repower and retrofit ships

Cape May – Lewes Ferry (CMLF) officials announced that the Federal Transit Administration, through the Passenger Ferry Grant Program, has awarded the Delaware Bay ferry service a $6 million grant to help repower and retrofit the MV New Jersey and MV Cape Henlopen.

The MV Delaware was the first vessel to undergo this repowering process and is expected to return to Cape May next month.

The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Passenger Ferry Grant program resources are awarded based on factors such as the age and condition of existing ferry boats, terminals and related infrastructure; benefits to riders, such as increased reliability; project readiness; and connectivity to other modes of transportation.

The repowering and retrofit project will improve the state of the ferry service, increase reliability of its vessels, improve operational capability by permitting higher cruising speeds, and reduce maintenance needs.

The Ferry expects to save approximately $130,000 per year in maintenance costs associated with old engines.  The new, clean diesel engines will also have the capability to be converted to operate on natural gas in the future. The new propulsion engines are anticipated to reduce fuel use by 39,600 gallons and carbon dioxide emissions by 443 tons annually.  In addition, the upgrade will reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 39.7 tons and particulate matter (PM) emissions by nearly half a ton.

In May, the MV Delaware will return to active service with new engines following a five-month repowering at Caddell’s Drydock and Repair Company in Staten Island, New York.  This initial repowering project was aided by a $975,000 Diesel Emission Reduction Act grant from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency.  A welcome home ceremony for the MV Delaware is planned in Cape May for May 31, 2016, and in Lewes on a date yet to be selected.

The Cape May – Lewes Ferry is owned and operated by the Delaware River and Bay Authority, a bi-state governmental agency created by Compact in 1962.  In 2014, the ferry service, which connects Victorian Cape May, New Jersey, and historic Lewes, Delaware, transported approximately 275,000 vehicles and nearly 1 million passengers.

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