Cape May – Lewes Ferry Welcomes Home MV Delaware
Congressman Frank LoBiondo Joins Ferry Staff for Engine Room Tour

(North Cape May, NJ) Today, the MV Delaware, one of three active vessels in the Cape May – Lewes Ferry fleet, returned home following a five-month dry-docking and repowering effort at Caddell’s Drydock and Repair Company in Staten Island, New York. The MV Delaware’s new EMD (Electro-Motive Division) engines are expected to reduce fuel consumption and reduce emissions by approximately 40%. The engines were purchased from Marine Systems Inc for $1.8 million and the total cost of the dry-docking project, during which the engine installation and other work was completed, was $3.5 million.

“On behalf of the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA), we would like to thank Congressman LoBiondo for his efforts to secure federal funding that is assisting us with our repowering project,” said James Hogan, Vice-Chairman of the DRBA, owners and operators of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. “This first repowering effort was a huge undertaking, but the environmental and operational benefits will be well worth it.”

“As a key transportation link for visitors to Cape May County and destinations throughout South Jersey, I applaud the DRBA for investing in cleaner, more fuel efficient technology on its ferries,” said Congressman LoBiondo, a senior member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. “I have long been a strong believer in partnerships and will continue to support federal funding for projects that have a positive economic impact while preserving the pristine environment of our region.”

The new propulsion engines are not only expected to reduce fuel use, but will also diminish nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 39.7 tons and particulate matter (PM) emissions by nearly half a ton. In December 2014, the U.S. EPA awarded the Cape May – L ewes Ferry a Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) grant of $970,000 to help facilitate the project. The Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) sought the grant funding through the National Clean Diesel Assistance Program, which focuses on reducing emissions at ports under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA).

Last month, the Federal Transit Administration, through the Passenger Ferry Grant Program, awarded the Delaware Bay ferry service a $6 million grant to help repower and retrofit the remaining vessels in the fleet: MV New Jersey and MV Cape Henlopen. Both the MV New Jersey and MV Cape Henlopen are equipped with two Fairbanks Morse 38D8-1/8 propulsion engines with a power rating of 2,060 horsepower each. More than 40 years old, these workhorse engines are approaching 100,000 operating hours or the equivalent of 1.5 million miles. In addition, because the engines are no longer built, spare parts are both difficult to find and expensive.

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.

Heath Gehrke, Director of Ferry Operations for the Cape May – Lewes Ferry summed up the return of the ferry, “We are excited to have the MV Delaware back just in time for the start of our busy summer season. We know our customers will be happy to have her back, too!” Gehrke also noted that the Ferry expects to save approximately $130,000 per year in maintenance costs associated with old engines. The existing Fairbanks Morse engines are overhauled and rebuilt every 10,000 hours of usage compared to every 30,000 hours for the new ones.

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. The Ferry is open year-round and has carried more than 43 million passengers since its inception on July 1, 1964. 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. For schedule, rates and other program information, please visit the ferry’s website at www.CMLF.com, or call toll free, 800-643-3779. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @CMLFerry.

PDF of Press Release

Vice Chairman Jim Hogan, Congressman LoBiondo and Heath Gehrke