Cammell Laird unveils new generation of green-friendly freight/passenger ferries

At the Nor Shipping trade fair in Oslo, the Birkenhead business is unveiling its new ‘disruptive’ Ro-Pax ferry design ahead of a formal launch later in the year. Tony McDonough reports

Red Kestrel
Red Kestrel launches onto the Mersey from Cammell Laird


Mersey shipbuilder Cammell Laird is pioneering a new generation of environmentally-friendly freight/passenger ferries to replace ageing vessels across the globe.

At the Nor Shipping trade fair in Oslo, the Birkenhead business is unveiling its new ‘disruptive’ Ro-Pax ferry design ahead of a formal launch later in the year.

Cammell Laird there will be huge demand from ferry operators over the next decade as they look to replace their ageing fleets with vessels incorporating the latest technology and that will meet much higher environmental standards.

In the past few weeks, the firm has completed Red Kestrel, a freight ferry for south of England operator Red Funnel, and is currently in the final stages of building RRS Sir David Attenborough polar research vessel, one of the most advanced ever built.


Cammell Laird’s project director Andy Askham said the company believes its innovative, environmentally ground-breaking design will prove attractive to operators.

“The ferry industry is crying out for innovation and green-friendly solutions,” he said. “Our new Ro-Pax design will be in the segment of the market where there’ll be a lot of demand for the next decade.

Read more: Cammell Laird to dismantle 60-year-old cranes

“From our discussions with various owners we have seen real interest in our design that thrusts environmental innovation, fuel efficiency and comfort to the forefront of the future ferry market.

“The global ferry fleet is ageing and in need of replacing while ferry building supply, certainly at a sophisticated level, is stretched in Europe in terms of spare capacity.”

Extensive experience

Mr Askham added that Cammell Laird will be marketing the Ro-Pax design based on its extensive experience and pedigree in the ferry market dating back decades.

He said the building of RRS Sir David Attenborough “showcases the incredible skills and expertise we have in the shipyard – and we won this ship and the Red Kestrel contract against fierce international competition”.

“Cammell Laird can further demonstrate its expertise through the drydocking and repairs we undertake for many ferries each year for a wide variety of customers including Stena, P&O, Seatruck Ferries, Irish Ferries, Mersey Ferries, Calmac and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

“We know the ferry market extremely well and believe it is ripe for a genuinely attractive new vessel design offering the most modern features.”

Mr Askham said Cammell Laird is working on the design now with an international design house ahead of the formal launch in planned for later this year.

Founded in 1828, Cammell Laird is one of the most famous names in British shipbuilding. The site covers 130 acres and includes four dry docks, a large modular construction hall and extensive covered workshops.

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