Backed by funding from the BMDV, the ferry is now entering climate-friendly service on the Constance-Meersburg route.

The new ferry boat of the Constance public utility company “Stadtwerke Konstanz” is being named the FS (Ferry Ship) “Richmond”: The christening ceremony took place on Saturday, 17 June, as part of a celebration on the grounds of the ferry port in Constance-Staad. “We are delighted that our new addition to the fleet has now been officially named,” says Stadtwerke Konstanz Managing Director Dr Norbert Reuter. “This ship has already proven its seaworthiness before it even enters service: Despite the insolvency of the contracted shipyard, massive restrictions due to the Corona pandemic as well as completely disrupted supply chains in the wake of the outbreak of the Ukraine war, it is now on the home straight and will soon be ready to enter service.” The new ferry will be powered by two high-speed gas-only engines. It will run on liquefied natural gas (LNG). The new ferry was christened by the Protestant pastor Tibor Nagy from Markdorf and the Catholic pastor Thomas Mitzkus from Constance. Two children from the traditional costume associations of Constance and Meersburg also assisted during the christening ceremony.

BMDV provided 1.8 million euros of funding support

The new ferry construction project was supported with funding from the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport. Parliamentary State Secretary Michael Theurer was present at the christening: “In the future, the ‘Richmond’ ferry will not only connect people and cities, but will also make environmentally friendly and sustainable mobility a very practical experience in everyday life: for commuters, families, day trippers and the many tourists who visit Lake Constance every year. Thanks to the most innovative shipbuilding technology, this model project, which is funded by the federal government with around 1.8 million euros, is a real milestone in the development towards clean and low-emission transport solutions.”

The Mayor of Constance, Uli Burchardt, remarked: “The ferry connection between Constance and Meersburg represents a very important link for the region, but also for Constance in particular. It is impossible to imagine the city without it and it is of great importance for the people on the lake, for tourism and for the entire economy. I am pleased that with the new ferry, the fleet as a whole will become more environmentally friendly. Our goal is to use biogas to fuel the ferry so that it will be greenhouse gas neutral when underway and thus make an important contribution on our way to climate neutrality. The path to completion was by no means an easy one, and I would like to thank the entire team at the Stadtwerke and the ferry company for completing the ship under such adverse conditions!”

District President Bärbel Schäfer from the Freiburg Regional Council also spoke at the christening ceremony: “As a habitat, recreational area and Europe’s largest drinking water reservoir, Lake Constance has a very special need for protection. That’s why I’m particularly delighted that the Constance public utility company is taking a step towards an emission-free Lake Constance with the new LNG ferry.”

Councillor Gareth Roberts from the namesake twin city of Richmond travelled to the ferry christening with a special delegation. “It is a great honour that the public utility company has chosen the name ‘Richmond’ for this beautiful vessel.” He went on to say in his speech that the name was particularly fitting as both cities have a close relationship with water. “Constance lies on the shores of Lake Constance, and Richmond is the only borough in London that lies on both sides of the Thames.” This year, the Constance – Richmond city partnership celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Many visitors came to witness the christening of the ship live and were also blessed with beautiful weather. After the ceremony, the guests were permitted to visit the new ferry ship as well as the historic  “Konstanz” ferry, and the Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe (BSB) shipping company treated those present to a special on excursion on board the new e-ship “Insel Mainau”.

Subsequent to the christening, the sea trials will now take place. As soon as all approvals have been obtained, the ship will go into service in a few weeks.

The “FS Richmond”

On the outside, the “Richmond” ferry resembles the “LODI”, currently the fleet’s youngest vessel. It is 82.5 metres long and 13.4 metres wide, and has room for 700 passengers and 64 cars. One visible difference is the eight-metre-high ventilation mast, which is part of the LNG ferry’s safety fittings. “In addition, the ship’s design has been optimised to reduce the vessel’s drag and therefore reduces the amount of energy needed for propulsion,” says Christoph Witte, technical manager of the Stadtwerke ferries.

After the insolvency of the originally commissioned shipyard, Stadtwerke Konstanz completed the ferry on its own, from March 2022 onwards, together with the engineering firm Technolog Services. The project presented numerous challenges: On the one hand, it is a technically extremely complex pilot project, and on the other hand, as construction progressed, more and more construction defects on the part of the former shipyard came to light. In addition to the Corona pandemic, the outbreak of the Ukraine war also had an impact on construction: “The war has affected supply and production chains as well as raw material prices worldwide. We were particularly affected by the price increases for aluminium and stainless steel,” says Witte. The total cost of the ship is around 27.5 million euros.

The construction of the LNG ferry on Lake Constance (AZ 3551.2./4) was supported with a total of 1,777,071.40 euros in funding from the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (Bundesministerium für Digitales und Verkehr) as part of the implementation of the Federal Government’s Mobility and Fuels Strategy (MFS). The funding measure is coordinated by NOW GmbH.

Technical specifications:

  • Technical specifications:
  • Length: 82.5 metres
  • Width: 13.4 metres
  • Weight: Approx. 840 tons
  • Passengers: 700 persons
  • Vehicles: 64 cars
  • Load capacity: 400 tons
  • Engines: Two 8-cylinder gas engines
  • Power per engine: 746 kilowatts

Further information on the ferry (in German) and details of the press contact at Stadtwerke Konstanz

Image source: Stadtwerke Konstanz