Washington State Ferries (WSF) in the US has unveiled a plan to add 16 vessels to its current fleet with an aim to offer a more reliable service.

The vessels are set to replace the company’s existing fleet of 23 vessels. Half of the current fleet is expected to be retired by 2040.

Of the new vessels, 13 ferries will replace vessels that are due for retirement, while three vessels will serve as substitutes for other ferries when they are out for maintenance and to drive growth.

The newly unveiled plan is part of a set of recommendations provided in WSF’s recently submitted ‘2040 Long Range Plan’ to the Washington State Legislature.

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Washington State Ferries assistant secretary Amy Scarton said: “This Long Range Plan provides a blueprint to guide WSF’s investments and meet our customers’ service expectations.

“We need to invest immediately in building new ferries, developing our workforce and upgrading technology and terminals to provide a reliable, sustainable and resilient ferry service through 2040 and beyond.”

The 2040 Long Range Plan is based on WSF’s 2009 programme and will be implemented over the next two decades.

“This Long Range Plan provides a blueprint to guide WSF’s investments and meet our customers’ service expectations.”

The plan focuses on four major themes that include reliable services, customer experience, managing growth, as well as sustainability and resilience.

In the 2040 Long Range Plan, WSF suggested the state to immediately start building the new ferries. WSF also recommended making investments in terminal enhancements, in addition to adopting new technology and strategies.

The plan includes suggestions for a green ferry fleet, as well as preparations to handle climate change and seismic events.

Electrification of the vessel fleet is expected to lower fuel consumption, emissions, noise and maintenance costs.

Among other recommendations, the plan includes guidance on future funding decisions.