Hurtigruten AS and Tide Buss have signed a long-term agreement on environmentally friendly bus transport in the Hurtigruten ports from Bergen to Kirkenes. The goal: Emission-free electric buses along the entire Norwegian coast.
The agreement has a value of approximately NOK 200 million and is the largest tour bus contract in Norway ever.
– When we invest billions in new technology and green solutions, it is important for us at Hurtigruten to find partners and suppliers who think the same way. Just like Hurtigruten, Tide is working to challenge the industry to move in a greener direction, says commercial director Asta Lassesen in Hurtigruten.
The agreement covers virtually all land-based transport for Hurtigruten, both on the transport stages to and from the ships and on the approximately 100 different excursions Hurtigruten offers on small and large destinations along the Norwegian coast. This means that several hundred thousand Hurtigruten guests will be transported annually by Tide, with low-emission buses and biodiesel.
In addition to their own buses and drivers, Tide will collaborate with a large number of local drivers and companies along the entire coast.
– It has been important for us to land a long-term agreement, to give the suppliers and our drivers predictability. With this big agreement, we can also work far harder with innovation and hunt for even better environmental solutions for tour buses, ”says commercial director Christine Flataker Johannessen at Tide.
From the start, the low-emission buses that carry Hurtigruten guests are run by biodiesel where it is available. In time, in addition to Hurtigruten, five new public tenders will also be launched in the summer of 2019, where more modern environmental technology will in total result in significant emission reductions with an 80 percent decrease in NOx, 75 percent in CO2, and 50 percent reduction in particles.
Going forward, their ambitions are much higher.
– With the new agreement we will work with Tide to introduce electric buses in several destinations along the coast as quickly as possible. Together we will create experiences that are unique and sustainable, and provide for a better environment, more jobs, more activity, and higher value creation in the places we bring guests every single day, all year, ”says Lassesen.
The record-high agreement on low-emission buses is the latest of a number of green initiatives in Hurtigruten.
In 2018, the Hurtigruten celebrated its 125th anniversary by becoming the first major tourism operator and the world’s first cruise line to ban all unnecessary disposable plastic.
In the summer of 2019, the world’s first hybrid-powered cruise ship, MS Roald Amundsen, is launched, followed by the sister ship MS Fridtjof Nansen the following year. Together with the Norwegian entrepreneurial company Brim, Hurtigruten also launches battery-powered catamarans that will sail on the Norwegian coast and Svalbard.
In addition, Hurtigruten will be rebuilding existing ships so that, as the first ships in the world, they can be operated on a combination of large battery packs, liquid natural gas (LNG), and biogas (LBG) – which are produced by Biokraft on Skogn of organic waste from dead fish.
For Tide, the agreement means that the company will be consolidating its position as a leading tour coach operator in Norway.
– We look forward to starting this national cooperation with a world-leading tourism participant like Hurtigruten. Hurtigruten is the world’s greenest cruise line, and this contract is a big step, says Flataker Johannessen.
The contract between Tide and Hurtigruten starts in September. Included options for extension, it has a duration of five years.
First electric bus ride with passengers in Trondheim
Enova has supported the electric bus project in Trondheim by over NOK 15 million. A total of 36 electric buses and eight charging stations provide an annual environmental saving of 1,955 tonnes of CO2.
Those who are going to drive the buses also like the brand new electric buses. – These buses are absolutely beautiful to drive, comfortable and quiet, says the bus driver on the trip, Håvard Røed from Tide Buss.
– This gives a positive experience for the driver, the travelers, and for the local community where the buses will run. No sound or emissions. I am very proud that we will participate in this environmental project in Trondheim, he adds.
The four electric bus lines in Trondheim save the environment for 1955 tonnes of fossil CO2 emissions each year compared to whether gas-powered buses would be on the same lines. If one compares with diesel-powered buses, we save 2100 tons of fossil CO2 emissions every year.
Roger Harkestad, Tide’s CEO emphasizes the importance of public tenders when it comes to environmental change towards a lower carbon footprint. It creates more winners; the environment, the staff, the users, and the local society, and the company who gets the tender. And it ensures green, deep, systemic, and fundamental change fast. In Norway we have seen it with our fleet of electric ferries, government incentives have made us world-leading when it comes to share of electric cars and now we see it coming to buses and coaches.
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