INCAT Tasmania has appointed a former Tasmanian premier as strategic advisor to support the company’s goal to build fully electric, lightweight ships.

The Australian shipbuilder announced Peter Gutwein’s appointment on Thursday along with a vision to lead an “electric revolution” in the ferry market.

Incat chairman Robert Clifford said Mr Gutwein’s knowledge and experience would be valuable as the businesses deals with a rapidly expanding low-emission and electric global market.

“While we see some competitors continue to construct ships overseas in low-wage economies and with significant incentives offered by some locations, Incat remains committed to manufacturing in Australia,” Mr Clifford said.

He said Mr Gutewein is to work regularly with shipyard management in one of several roles he has taken up since stepping down from parliament and as premier of Tasmania earlier in the year.

“The engineers, designers and research and development teams at Incat and Revolution Design [a naval architecture company] have been working towards the electric revolution for several years and anticipate exciting times ahead.

“We are delighted to have someone of Peter’s calibre providing strategic advice along the journey.”

Mr Clifford said Incat is experiencing new opportunities as the shipping industry strives for a 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions for newbuilds by 2025 and a 40% reduction of overall emissions.

He said tens of thousands of vessels will need to be replaced over the next decade, and Incat aims to deliver the world’s first high-speed lightweight ships that are fully electric and with zero emissions.

Incat plans to double or potentially triple its workforce to fill 1500 positions at the shipyard in Prince of Wales Bay and expects a “similar increase” for contractors and other support services for the shipbuilder’s operations.

“We will need more employees and possibly even another yard once we reach capacity here at the current site,” Mr Clifford said.

“We are also going to need the right strategic advice and support to enable us to grow as quickly as we will need to. “

Mr Gutwein will officially step into his new role in the new year.