Greetings Ferry Friends,
Before writing my final update for 2022, I thought I would look back at my previous reports for reference purposes. In doing so, I almost forgot that less than a year ago we were just about to enter another round of Covid-induced lockdowns. In fact, Interferry’s February 2022 board meeting in Whistler had to be cancelled and replaced with a virtual one.
And yet, unbelievably, a little more than seven months later we were able to host our most successful conference ever in Seattle, with almost 500 participants. If this isn’t a true testament to the resilience of the ferry community and human nature in general, I don’t know what is…
Hobart 2023 • The 47th Annual Interferry Conference • November 4-8, 2023
We are excited to confirm our event schedule for the Hobart conference being hosted by Spirit of Tasmania and its CEO, Bernard Dwyer, who is also an Interferry Board member and our current President.
The conference will be held at the Hobart Convention and Exhibition Centre (HCEC), located within the conference hotel – The Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart. The HCEC is the largest purpose-built conference and events facility in Tasmania and promises to be a fantastic venue. The conference will offer many networking opportunities, including coffee breaks and Happy Hours held in the HCEC. Sponsors and exhibitors will enjoy a flexible and open exhibition area in which to display their products and services.
Other networking opportunities and events include pre-tours to Port Arthur and Bruny Island; partner tours to Bonorong Park & Puddleduck Vineyard; the Sunday Welcome Reception at the Henry Jones Art Hotel and Atrium; the Monday Networking Reception at AURA; and the Farewell Dinner at Wrest Point which will include a Variety Show and Casino Night. Last but not least, the Technical Tour hosted by Incat founder and Interferry board member Robert Clifford will be a must-attend event and a fitting finale for the conference.
We have not yet chosen a theme for this year’s conference but expect to do so in the next month or so with the Call for Speakers to be issued in early spring.
Sponsor commitments have been brisk, as companies are keen to participate and support Interferry, the ferry industry at large as well as to promote their businesses. There still are sponsorships available, but they are filling up fast – so I encourage you to act earlier to avoid disappointment.
Please continue to check our conference website, follow our LinkedIn and Twitter accounts (hashtag #Interferry2023) and watch your email for ongoing conference updates.
Visits to Brisbane and Sydney
After spending the better part of a week in Hobart, we traveled to the equally beautiful cities of Brisbane and Sydney to visit ferry operators and suppliers.
In Brisbane, we were hosted by the Brisbane Economic Development Agency (BEDA) who provided a tour of the river city and all that it has to offer. BEDA is keen to get on our roster of potential future conference locations. We then were met by Tommy Ericson of Aus Ships Group and Len Kidd of RiverCity Ferries who took us on a fantastic tour of their respective operations, as well sailed down the Brisbane River on one of RiverCity’s ferries. The day culminated with a ferry trip on board the Tangalooma ferry from Moreton Island.
After a few days in Brisbane, we were off to Sydney to meet with the many ferry operators that provide services in the extremely busy Sydney Harbour – all this under the backdrop of its famous opera house. We called on Gary Iddon of Transdev Sydney Harbour Ferries and sailed on a few of his vessels. If you haven’t been to Sydney, it’s quite the spectacle to watch the water ballet that goes on throughout the day at the Circular Quay’s many piers as ferries from multiple operators come in and go out of the harbour like water bugs in the same fashion as cruise ships call and leave from the adjacent cruise ship terminal.
We also met with Nell Payne and Will Ford of NRMA on board one of their vessels and sailed to the popular beach destination of Manly on the outreaches of Sydney Harbour. We then traveled a short distance to King St. Wharf and met with Nick Lester of Sealink to see some of his operations.
While in Sydney, we were fortunately enough to meet with Jeremy Spears, a long-time Interferry member and supporter who is now also Chairman of the Australian International Marine Export (AIMEX), and AIMEX’s CEO, David Good. AIMEX is key partner of Interferry and excellent conduit into the Australia marine manufacturing and supplier industry.
We would like to thank everyone whom we met in Australia for their friendship and hospitality. The visit there reminded me once again that Interferry truly is one big family. We are therefore very much looking forward to catching up again with all our Aussie friends in Hobart later this year.
Regulatory Update • GHG
Several regulations relating to Green House Gases came into force on 1 January 2023. We have been very successful in making sure that the IMO technical requirements are feasible for ferry operators. The financial implications of the EU instruments will be significant, but as they form part of a wider societal push to decarbonize all activities we have engaged in is to ensure that the new situation is as fair as possible, without arguing against these dramatic changes.
The IMO’s Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) is a retroactive application of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) which has been in place for new ships for some time. The EEXI also obliges older ships to comply with the energy efficiency levels stipulated by the EEDI as from 1 January 2023. With Interferry’s active and ongoing involvement in the creation and implementation of these regulations, we are proud to report that EEXI member compliance is very high overall.
The IMO’s Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) sets out to require ships to operationally perform at least as well as the average performer of that ship type. So, if the average ferry consumes 100 kg of fuel per nautical mile, a ferry that consumes 150 kg is rated poorly and a ferry that only consumes 50 kg is rated as a top performer. These values are adjusted for ship size, but all other operational particularities are ignored. Interferry, joined by the rest of the maritime industry, has pushed back hard against this approach. There is no such thing as an average ship and being penalized for operating in harsh waters is simply unfair. Additionally, the CII also benefits steady-state operations, so the more port calls a ship makes in a year, the worse its CII becomes. For obvious reasons in ferry operations, being encouraged to make fewer port calls is not something we can accept.
Due to its obviously flawed design, the IMO has encouraged Flag States to not impose sanctions against non-compliance with the CII until at least 2026. Interferry would rather see the instrument repealed and reworked into something reasonable.
For companies calling at EU ports, the inclusion of Maritime into the EU Emission Trading System will come at a significant cost. Starting in 2024, the EU institutions have agreed that CO2 emissions related to EU operations will have to be paid for in a so-called cap & trade market. In simple terms, for every ton of CO2 a ship emits, the owner has to purchase an emission credit in an open market. The current price is around EUR 80 per credit, which corresponds to ca EUR 250 per ton of fuel. Given that the purchasing price of a ton of fuel is ca EUR 600 per ton, this is a significant cost increase – which is the very intention of the ETS, seeking to drive operators to low-carbon alternatives.
On the positive side, it is now almost a certainty that at least EUR 1.5 billion from the EU’s Innovation Fund will be available for financing the following types of projects: improvement in ship and port energy efficiency, innovative technologies and infrastructure, as well as the deployment of sustainable alternative fuels and zero-emission propulsion technologies. Final approval by EU Council and Parliament is expect by mid-February.
Upcoming February Activities
We don’t expect our schedule to slow down in February as we travel to Long Beach, California to attend and present at the Passenger Vessel Association of America (PVA) conference. We look forward to catching up with many of our US members and industry colleagues. Please stop by the Ferry Conference portion of the event on February 3rd to see our Interferry presentation “People and Power” given by Interferry Chairman Tim Mooney and myself.
After PVA, we are immediately off to Whistler, Canada for Interferry’s first Board meeting of 2023, taking place on February 7th. We look forward to welcoming the Board to our home country for the first time since we met in Vancouver in 2014.
Until next month, take care and stay safe……
Mike Corrigan – CEO, Interferry