Wightlink to spend £45m on new ferry and upgrading Portsmouth terminal

A CGI of the new upgraded Wightlink terminal in Portsmouth
A CGI of the new upgraded Wightlink terminal in Portsmouth
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Wightlink Ferries has revealed plans to spend £45m on a new ferry and improving its Portsmouth terminal.

The ship will work the Portsmouth Gunwharf-Fishbourne route and be able to take 1,000 people per crossing.

And it will be green, using modern fuel management techniques and a system that recycles engine heat to warm water.

The firm’s chief operating officer John Burrows said: ‘We’re delighted to announce our plans to introduce the most environmentally-friendly ferry ever.’

As well as the new ship, there will be major improvements to the terminal at The Hard interchange near Gunwharf Quays.

There will be better facilities for customers, and faster loading and unloading times, with the aim of reducing congestion at Gunwharf.

New boarding ramps will allow vehicles to be loaded and unloaded on two levels simultaneously and more quietly. Wightlink’s current flagship St Clare will be improved so it can use the same ‘double-deck’ loading system.

Mr Burrows added: ‘Wightlink is proud to invest in our lifeline service to and from the Isle of Wight.

‘Since 2009 we have bought five new ships for our Portsmouth-to-Ryde Pier and Lymington-to-Yarmouth routes and we’re delighted to be announcing this investment.

‘The works to our terminals will see improved customer facilities, quicker and quieter loading and unloading, and reduced traffic congestion.

‘The introduction of a second tier of boarding lanes at Portsmouth will have a particularly positive effect on reducing traffic and improving road safety for pedestrians in and around the harbour.’

Wightlink is holding a consultation programme, seeking opinions from its customers and neighbours.

To find out more about the plans go to wightlink.co.uk/IFTF. The work is due to start either over the winters of 2015/16 or 2016/17. The ferry will come into service in 2017.