In statements made to the media during the ship’s maiden voyage, held on the 28 of November, between Seixal and Cais do Sodré, Alexandra Ferreira de Carvalho explained that these experimental voyages will help to gauge the duration of the journey.
The ceremony, which took place in the presence of the Prime Minister, António Costa and the Minister of the Environment, Duarte Cordeiro, Transtejo removed connections between Seixal and Cais do Sodré from 9:40 am to 10:05 pm and at 10:05 in the opposite direction.
From the information available on the company’s website, it was not possible to guarantee the completion of all scheduled routes during the morning peak period due to technical constraints.
Alexandra de Carvalho explained that the constraint is related to the fact that in Seixal, in the district of Setúbal, there is only one pontoon, which would be occupied by the new ship during the ceremony before the maiden voyage.
The “Cegonha Branca” is one of the first of a group of 10 ships that should be operating in the crossing between the two banks by 2025.
Two more are expected to arrive in February, which according to Alexandra, will join the “Cegonha Branca” on the Seixal – Lisbon crossing at the end of March.
The ships are named after an indigenous bird from the Tejo estuary.
The renewal of the fleet led, in April, to the dismissal of the president of the Board of Directors of Transtejo at the time, Marina Ferreira, who left after a report from the Court of Auditors (TdC) accused the company of “failing to tell the truth” and of illegal practices.
At issue was the purchase of nine batteries, for the value of €15.5 million (ME), in an additional contract previously supervised by the TdC for the acquisition, for €52.4 million, of ten new ships with the battery-electric propulsion, to ensure the public passenger transport service between the two banks of Tejo.
At the beginning of November, the Government reprogrammed the expenditure related to the renewal of the Transtejo fleet, which includes the acquisition of 10 electric ships, increasing the investment by €10 million, which now stands at more than 80.6 ME.
With the new entry into the operation of the new fleet, it will be possible to reduce the carbon footprint, raise the current standards of comfort and safety of ships and reduce maintenance costs.
Transtejo is responsible for the river connection between Seixal, Montijo, Cacilhas and Trafaria/Porto Brandão, in the district of Setúbal, to Lisbon.