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Front Street Shipyard to build carbon fiber ferries

Company partners with Norwegian ferry builder
By Ben Holbrook | Oct 21, 2015
Source: File Image

Belfast — Front Street Shipyard is partnering with a Norwegian company to build carbon fiber ferries that will be sold around the country.

While the partnership is in its early stages, Front Street Shipyard and Brødrene Aa, which is based in Hyen, Norway, are working together to build and sell carbon fiber ferries under the new company name Arcadia Alliance, according to a news release announcing the partnership.

The ferries will be built in conjunction with Maine Composites Alliance and Norwegian composite expert Martin Grimnes, who lives in Maine.

According to the news release, the “highly efficient” ferries will be sold to state and federal agencies that are looking to replace aging and inefficient vessels.

Carbon fiber ferries, unlike those built of aluminum or fiberglass, are lightweight and use less fuel.

“Given the significance of ferry transport to travelers in coastal regions coupled with concerns about gas consumption and emissions, efficiency of our country's ferries is critical,” J.B. Turner, Front Street Shipyard president, said in the news release. “Brødrene Aa has a progressive design to reduce consumption and emissions, and they have an exceptionally efficient construction method we can apply to the U.S. ferry market at Front Street Shipyard.”

Turner did not immediately return a phone message seeking further comment regarding the partnership.

U.S. ferries carry almost 103 million passengers and about 37 million vehicles per year, according to U.S. Department of Transportation statistics.

“Given Front Street Shipyard's modern facility and boatbuilding capabilities, we believe their team can deliver the same high-quality vessels in the United States that we produce in Norway,” Leif Riksheim, Brødrene Aa board chairman, said in the news release.

The organizations will work together to develop ferry designs for U.S. waters with construction of the first ferry to begin in 2016, the news release states.


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