(Bloomberg) -- Bangkok residents used to traveling in the smoke-belching, noisy boats in the Thai capital’s Chao Phraya river may soon have cleaner, quieter options, as the city’s electric ferry services grow.
Chao Phraya Express Boat Co., a leading provider of water transportation services in Bangkok, plans to purchase 30 electric boats and gradually phase out its fleet of diesel ferries, it announced Wednesday. International Finance Corp. will assist in buying and operating the new vehicles and developing environmental, safety and social standards, the two entities said in a joint statement.
Electrifying the city’s water fleet has become a priority in recent years, as Thailand looks to both grow its electric vehicle industry and make progress toward its emissions-reduction goals. Energy Absolute Pcl, Thailand’s biggest electric-vehicle venture, debuted electric ferry services last year, and on Wednesday, the company announced a loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank to partially fund 27 more vehicles.
That project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 18,900 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent a year, ADB said.
Bangkok’s air quality is often poor, a result of industrial emissions, construction, crop burning and vehicle fumes, and authorities sometimes shut schools temporarily and open pollution clinics. On Wednesday, toxic particles, also referred to as PM2.5, were three times higher than the World Health Organization’s annual air quality guideline, according to to data from AirVisual.
Thai authorities say that the new, cleaner boats on Bangkok’s waterways will reduce congestion on the city’s roads. Commuters in Bangkok lost an average 114 hours while being stuck in traffic in 2021, IFC said, citing an estimate from TomTom’s congestion index.
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