Interferry CEO Mike Corrigan delivers an update each month which summarizes Interferry activities including regulatory updates, conference developments and membership news. The CEO Update is sent out by email to our mailing list and is announced on Twitter via @InterferryOrg and Interferry’s company page on LinkedIn.

Hello Everyone,

In this month’s update, I interviewed Shari Corrigan, Interferry’s Director of Conferences and Finance, to provide an overview of our global Ferry Market Study questionnaire that was recently sent to ferry operator members. Shari is overseeing the survey in conjunction with Oxford Economics and I talked with her about the reasons the survey is so important to complete.

This month I would also like to draw your attention to the recently issued Ferry Business report published in Cruise & Ferry Review magazine in partnership with Interferry.

I conclude my update with some commentary on the current state of our industry and travel, as we enter the second year of the pandemic with the busy and historically profitable summer season quickly approaching.

Global Ferry Market Study Survey Request – Shari Corrigan Interview

By now, all Interferry operator members should have received an email from me asking that you complete our survey as soon as possible. In addition, we will also be sending the survey to non-member ferry operators in early April. It is equally as important that non-member operators complete the survey, so we can get as accurate as possible estimate of the global ferry market’s size and economic impact.

If you are in either camp and have not received the questionnaire, or have any questions, please contact Shari Corrigan at shari.corrigan@interferry.com.

Speaking of Shari, here’s a link to a Zoom interview I recently conducted with her that explains why it is important for your company to complete the survey, how to do so and when the results will be published. I encourage you to watch this short video to get a better understanding of why Interferry has invested in this strategically important initiative during the midst of a global pandemic and economic downturn.

Shari Corrigan, Interferry’s Director of Conferences and Administration, Canada

You can watch Shari’s interview and read more about the study here on the Ferry Market Study page in the Communications section of the Interferry website.

Ferry Business Report – Spring/Summer 2021

Published in association with Interferry, the Spring/Summer 2021 edition of the Ferry Business report in Cruise & Ferry Review is packed with executive interviews from a number of our members and long-time supporters.

Ferry Business opens with a commentary from me, followed by a roundtable led by long-time Interferry supporter and member Simon Johnson of Shipshape Consulting who asks executives from Brittany Ferries, DFDS and Stena Line about the origins and benefits of their new E-Flexer ferries. This is followed by Interferry members, Peter Hebblethwaite of P&O Ferries explaining why he expects the ferry market to experience a boost when travel restrictions lift, and Greg Bombard of Catalina Express detailing how his company has remained successful over the past 40 years.

In addition, Abby Penlington of Discover Ferries, another Interferry member and key industry partner, discusses how her organization is working with ferry operators to promote safe ferry travel, while Interferry’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, Johan Roos, examines how virtual meetings have helped the International Maritime Organization to expedite decision-making. Ferry Business wraps up with an interview with industry expert Michael Grey highlighting how ferry operators and ports in the UK and Europe are adapting to operational changes prompted by both Covid-19 and Brexit.

Read the Spring/Summer 2021 Ferry Business and previous editions here: https://interferry.com/ferry-business/

The Next Few Months

I’ve recently been interviewed by a number of trade publications, as well as mainstream media, on my thoughts about the ferry industry as we enter year two of the pandemic. In all honesty, it has been difficult to provide a succinct and coordinated answer. The race to inoculate the population and the easing of travel restrictions is still very much “all over the map” (pardon the pun!). While the UK, USA, and a few others are approaching the halfway point in the immunization process for people over the age of 18 – other nations, including those in the EU, and my home country of Canada – have just passed the 10 percent threshold.

While the speed at which immunizations happen and travel restrictions are relaxed is obviously outside the prevue of Interferry, it is critical that we are part of the dialogue and provide solutions for the coordinated and safe resumption of discretionary ferry travel. To that end, we continue to promote our COVID-19 best practices guideline for safe passenger ferry travel, as well as ensure that governments understand we are the best choice for socially distant regional travel – both domestically and internationally.

With regards to travel across borders, we are ramping up our efforts to ensure that the ferry sector is treated equally and consistently with other segments of the transportation industry. For example, we are concerned that ferry travel between north Africa and southern Europe is not allowed, but airlines are free to transport its passengers between the two continents. The same is also true for North America.

All this comes at a time with the summer season quickly approaching and many questions remaining unanswered. The biggest of which might be what form of proof/documentation will be required by governments at various levels to allow for the free flow of passengers? While we still don’t know what will be required and if a universal or even regional vaccination passport will be created in time, we do know that the ferry industry will rise to the challenge so that, once again, we will be ready to welcome the traveling public this summer safely and efficiently.

Until next time, take care and stay safe…
Mike Corrigan – CEO, Interferry

Hello Everyone,

As we are now well into 2021, hopefully you have received a schedule of when you can expect to get your first vaccine shot or, in some case, it is possible that you may have already received your first or even second jab. Here in Canada, people in my age group don’t expect to receive their first shot until some time in June, with the second one coming in the latter part of August. However, the timelines and information we receive from our various levels of governments is still somewhat uncertain and subject to change from one week to the next.

What is certain is that here at Interferry, we continue to work diligently from our home offices on several initiatives important to the ferry industry and our members, as we anxiously await the opportunity to – once again – meet our members and colleagues in person.

This month I would like to update you on our ongoing involvement in IMO’s GHG deliberations, provide a summary of Interferry’s recent Board of Directors meeting, ask for your assistance in completing a questionnaire as part of our Ferry Market Study and introduce my latest Zoom interviewee – Supapan Pichaironarongsongkram of Chao Phraya Express Boats in Thailand.

IMO GHG Deliberations

After two months of intense work developing our proposal on the on-going GHG discussions at the IMO, we put forth the following position related to CII to meet last week’s deadline:

  1. GT should be used as the transport work metric for ro-ro cargo and ro-pax ships.
  2. GT should also be used for ro-ro vehicle carriers.
  3. HSC should be taken out from the ropax CII reference line.
  4. It should be assessed if it is feasible to establish a separate reference line for HSC.
  5. The ro-ro cargo ship sector should be split into two sub-segments.
  6. Deep-sea container ro-ro’s should be separated from short sea ones.

With regards HSC, we have established a task force led by the OPC Chair Götz Becker to take that issue forward.
In addition to these detailed issues, there is a wider policy discussion going on between Member States – and between the industry sectors – on how to establish an equitable distribution of the total effort to be made to reach the IMO 2030 target of 40% improvement in transport work efficiency.

Interferry argues that a flat rate would be the best way forward, whereby each sector of the shipping industry has to improve by the same percentage between 2023-2030. This position is predicated on the pending agreement to use the well documented 2019 performance as the measuring stick, with a correction factor of 24% for all sectors – which is the general average improvement recorded since 2008 (the IMO reference year).

We did not submit any final comments on the EEXI, since it seems to be more than reasonable in terms of compliance for the ferry sector, especially with the added option to use electronic power limiters.

The commitment and amount of work provided by Interferry members to reach these recommendations is unprecedented. The reality is that there are no “right answers” to many of the concerns that CII raises. We have diligently assessed a variety of options before reaching an understanding of what is most fair for our members’ fleets. All decisions have been made based on solid data that has been scrutinized by our team of ferry experts representing both operator and supplier members.

In terms of the way forward, the IMO Correspondence Group report will be finalized in early March, after which the lobby efforts in May and June will commence ahead of MEPC76.

On a related note, we will hold our next OPC GHG virtual meeting on March 17 at 13h UTC.

For a detailed explanation of this particularly complex and technical file, please refer to the GHG page in the Regulatory Affairs section of our website.

Interferry Board of Directors Meeting via Zoom – February 10, 2021

New Interferry Chair Christophe Mathieu oversaw his first Board meeting last month with 15 Directors and Interferry’s three senior staff members in attendance.

In addition to approving the organization’s 2021 budget and management objectives, the Board recapped a COVID dominated 2020 and recognized all that we were still able to accomplish given the significant challenges we had to overcome.

Preliminary financial results suggest a very modest loss for 2020, which was recognized as a worthy accomplishment given the Hobart conference had to be cancelled and rescheduled to 2023. From a retained earnings standpoint, the organization is still in an extremely strong position at the end of 2020 – with a similar cash balance as it had a year ago before the pandemic set in. Likewise, membership retention has been strong, and the association only lost a net of four members during 2020. The Board believed this was a true testament to the value our members place in Interferry – especially during the worst economic downturn of our lives.

The Board further acknowledged the association’s strong regulatory presence at the IMO and EU, as well as other regulatory and political bodies. In particular, the Board made special mention of our lobby efforts regarding the GHG file, the publication of our best practices COVID safe restart guide and the launch of our campaign requesting direct and indirect pandemic financial support from various levels of government. The Board also recognized the association’s work in increasing its social media presence through the various channels we now manage.

Finally, the Board agreed to defer the final decision on the delivery of the October 2021 conference in Santander, Spain until mid-May, given the rapidly changing landscape regarding COVID travel restrictions and vaccine rollouts. Management advised the Board that it is fully prepared to host another successful conference in Spain and that all venues have been secured.

Ferry Market Study – Operators Questionnaire

As previously reported, Interferry has engaged Oxford Economics to conduct a Ferry Market Study on its behalf to identify the size and economic impact of the global ferry industry. Oxford Economics is currently collecting data from third party sources which is necessary to determine the physical size of our industry.

However, Oxford Economics needs our assistance in acquiring information from an array of different ferry operators – both members and non-members – from across the globe so they can reasonably estimate the ferry industry’s regional and global economic impact.

To that end, Oxford Economics will be conducting a confidential survey of individual ferry companies in order to gain enough information to be able to extrapolate the results into a meaningful estimate of our industry’s overall economic impact.

A successful survey will result in a meaningful study that can be used to influence regulators, politicians, and other decision makers. The member operator survey will be launched March 9, 2021. A non-member operator survey will be launched the following week. An email invitation to participate in the survey will be sent to the CEO of each ferry operating company. Given the importance of this initiative to our industry, if you are an operator, I ask that your company make it a priority to complete the survey.

Please rest assured that the information provided will only been seen by Oxford Economics and a select few at Interferry. It will not be shared with anyone outside of the two organizations or disseminated in a manner that could identify specific companies. Furthermore, the results of information collected will only be reported on a collective basis.

If you have any questions or concerns about the survey or study, please contact Shari Corrigan at shari.corrigan@interferry.com.

CEO Zoom Interview – Supapan Pichaironarongsongkram, Chao Phraya Express Boats, Thailand

This month I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Mrs. Supapan, the newest Director on Interferry’s Board. She truly is a world-class business leader who has been acknowledged as one of the leading female entrepreneurs of the world. She has received numerous international awards, including the ASEAN Outstanding Women Entrepreneurs award in 2015.

Supapan Pichaironarongsongkram, Chairperson of Chao Phraya Express Boat Co., Ltd., Thailand

You can view Mrs. Supapan’s interview here in the Communications section.

I know you will be interested to hear from her about the three generations of female leadership at Chao Phraya Express Boats, as it celebrates its 100-year anniversary. During the interview, Mrs. Supapan provides an overview of her vast business empire, which includes marine transportation companies, upscale hotels, fine dining restaurants, a shopping mall and an outdoor advertising company. She also talks about her company’s plans for the future coming out of the pandemic and why she got involved with Interferry in 2009.

Well, that’s it for this month. I hope you enjoy Mrs. Supapan’s interview and please don’t forget to complete your survey.

Until next month, take care and be safe…
Mike Corrigan – CEO, Interferry

Happy belated New Year ferry friends,

I think it is safe to say that we have never looked so forward to turning the calendar to another year as we have moving into 2021.

In this month’s report I want to brief you on our latest thinking regarding our global ferry conference scheduled for October 2021 in Santander, Spain, tell you about our ongoing efforts to ensure the world is aware of ferry operators continued commitment to deliver life-line services, update you on our recent Operators Policy Committee meeting that focused on IMO’s GHG deliberations and introduce my latest Zoom interview with another ferry industry leader, Mike Grainger of Liferaft Systems Australia.

Update on the October 2021 Interferry Conference in Santander, Spain 

My level of confidence in delivering a conference in the beautiful seaside city of Santander in northern Spain seems to fluctuate almost daily given the news of the day. When the news of the vaccine rollout hit in earnest last month, my confidence level was high that Santander would happen, given the announced aggressive jab schedules. But my level of optimism has waned somewhat now that we are hearing about new strains of the virus, as well as concerns regarding the availability of the vaccines to meet the timelines first announced.

Given that we have negotiated maximum flexibility in our hotel and conference center contracts, our best course of action at this time is to take a wait and see approach until as late as mid-May. By then we should have enough information to make an informed decision. As is always the case, our industry’s core value of safety will be the deciding factor as to whether or not we proceed with the conference.

If our decision is to proceed with Santander, we will issue our Call for Papers for the Speakers Program and open registrations shortly thereafter. If we need to cancel the conference, we will identify ways to continue to provide value to the membership and our sponsors virtually, and in other ways, until we can hold the next conference safely.

LinkedIn Sponsored Content Campaign – “Ferry Transportation During the Pandemic: Delivering Essential Goods and Services”

As we enter the second year of the pandemic, we will be launching a LinkedIn ad campaign to continue to remind governments and regulators, as well as the general public, that ferry operators and the companies that supply and support them, continue to deliver vital life-line and essential services to the communities they serve.

Some ferry operators are government owned/controlled organizations, and many others are privately run companies. Regardless of their ownership structures, all types of operators around the world have incurred, and continue to incur, unsustainable financial losses while continuing to deliver much needed supplies to coastal communities – from medical supplies to groceries and everything in between. At times, ferries are virtually devoid of passengers and cars, while their deck space is full of commercial vehicles carrying essential goods.

The ferry industry will take years to recoup the losses related to COVID-19. In some places, passengers have started to return, and in other places, travel restrictions imposed by governments and health officials remain in place. Unfortunately, it is likely that some ferry operators’ balance sheets won’t survive this prolonged pandemic.

Despite the impact to the ferry industry, ferry operators continue to demonstrate their resilience, and are preparing to welcome passengers back when the time is right – recognizing that the public will most likely feel safer on ferries than they do on other forms of transportation for some time to come.

If you follow Interferry on LinkedIn the ad will appear in your feed.

Operators Policy Committee (OPC) Meeting – IMO’s GHG Deliberations

In our continued effort to ensure that IMO’s proposed new GHG and emission reduction regulations factor in the unique aspects of ferries and our operations as compared to other shipping sectors, we held an OPC meeting on January 27. Twenty-two participants attended, representing 15 OPC member companies. (Ferry companies are eligible to be OPC members if they self-select level 1, 2 or 3 of Interferry’s membership categories).

Johan Roos briefed attendees on the ongoing herculean efforts of Interferry’s GHG team to meet the aggressive IMO Correspondence Group timelines, and the March 12 deadline for final submission to MEPC76, which will be held in June of this year. This will ultimately lead to the implementation of new EEXI and CII regulations starting in 2023.

Based on our team’s hard work, we are now cautiously optimistic that the vast majority of our members’ ferries will meet the new EEXI regulations. For those who may have challenges, they will have the option of doing so by voluntarily reducing their engine power limitations to get their license to operate renewed when it comes due in 2023. As for CII, which is built on the concept of continuous improvement, the team is still working through our solutions for the ferry sector. A final proposal is required by February 10 to meet the timelines I mentioned earlier.

If you would like more information on this extremely important and complex issue, please contact Johan Roos at johan.roos@interferry.com.

Zoom Interview with Mike Grainger of Liferaft Systems Australia

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing Mike Grainger, past Chairman of Interferry, Managing Director of Liferaft Systems Australia and Chairman of TT-Line Spirit of Tasmania. I think you’ll agree that Mike is a venerable choice to speak about the state of our industry.

Mike Grainger, Managing Director, Liferaft Systems Australia, Australia

You can view Mike’s interview here in the Communications section.

In his interview, Mike provides an update on the current situation in Australia, and especially Tasmania, relative to COVID-19. He talks about how his business has been impacted during the pandemic. From a supplier standpoint, Mike also provides his general assessment on the state of the new build/refit ferry markets, and his observations on the overall trend for owners investing in their fleets during the pandemic. As many of you who have had the opportunity to meet Mike know, he is always entertaining and enlightening.

A special thanks goes to this month’s interview sponsors – Rauma Marine Constructions and UES Seating.

Thanks for reading my report this month. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to send me an email or drop me a line.

Until next month, take care and stay safe…
Mike Corrigan, CEO – Interferry

Season’s Greetings Ferry Friends,

I hope you’re able to enjoy the holiday season in one form or another over the next couple of weeks – regardless of the size of your “bubble”.

As crazy as 2020 has been, we all still have much to be thankful for – both personally and professionally. Now that COVID vaccinations are beginning to be rolled out across the globe – there is real hope on the horizon for a return to a version of normalcy sometime next year. After all, hope is what truly keeps us all going during tough times, with the anticipation that tomorrow will bring better things than yesterday.

At Interferry, as difficult as 2020 was with the cancellation of our annual global conference for the first time in our 45-year history, and member ferry traffic plummeting by as much as 90% at times, we still managed to steer a steady course and stay focused on the key regulatory and safety items critical to our industry’s success in the coming years.

Here’s a summary of the most important initiatives we undertook in 2020.

IMO GHG Deliberations & MEPC 75/76

By now, you’ve heard many times about the importance of these GHG deliberations to the long-term success of the ferry industry, as well as our call to action to operator members to submit their data to us. I’m happy to report we have received an excellent response to our request, which will go a long way to ensuring that as many existing ferries as possible will be certified to continue operations when IMO’s new GHG regulations utilizing the EEXI (energy efficiency design index for existing ships) takes effect in 2023.

However, our work is not done. We still need members to continue to provide their input regarding the second part of the new regulations that deal with the concept of continuous improvement related to GHG reductions called the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII). If you haven’t participated in this portion of the project and would like to do so, please let us know right away, as we only have a couple more months of member consultation before we need to submit our final position on CII to IMO’s correspondence group in preparation for MEPC76 next June.

COVID Governmental Support and Safe Sail Procedures

Early into the pandemic, we issued a call for financial support to all levels of government across the globe on behalf of our members who continue to provide lifeline services while incurring unsustainable financial losses. We are pleased to see that a number of jurisdictions answered our call by providing financial aid and other forms of relief to many of our members. While the level of assistance was less than hoped for in many cases, as the old saying goes, “every little bit helps”.

It is worth noting that our call for governmental help was qualified by some of our members who stated that any form of government support needed to be done on a non-discriminatory basis, without distorting markets on competitive ferry routes. In fact, a few of our members advised their respective governments that they would not be participating in their financial aid relief packages because – in their view – the principles noted above could not be adhered to.

Interferry also took a proactive and leadership position with many regulatory agencies and governments by issuing a best practice guide for the safe resumption of ferry service when COVID-19 infections dipped during the summer and many ferry routes temporarily returned to more normal operations. While not a panacea, this allowed for a “staycation” market to materialize and provide some much-needed short-term relief for many of our members. This best-practice guide has been used by various governments as a blueprint for COVID-safe travel on domestic and international ferry routes across the globe.

Fire Safety

After several years of constructive deliberations, Session 101 of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) approved new draft interim guidelines on Ro-Pax fire safety. Interferry argued that some aspects of the voluntary guidelines required greater discussion to avoid unjustified construction requirements, such as the safe distances for life saving appliances in relation to ro-ro deck openings.

In March 2020, the seventh annual session of the IMO Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE) sub-committee met to draft SOLAS amendments to be enforced from January 2024. Two main issues were unresolved at SSE7: the proposed prohibition of so-called open RoRo spaces, and how to assess which requirements should apply to existing (pre-2024) ships. This was referred to a correspondence group for ongoing discussion prior to reporting to SSE8 in March 2021.

The IMO has issued the interim guidance, which is voluntary in nature, but treated as mandatory by many Member States. Interferry supports the majority of this guidance, but would like some modifications before throwing its full support behind it.

Interferry’s Partnership in LASH FIRE

The EU-funded LASH FIRE project aims to identify and assess additional fire safety measures for Ro-Ro cargo and Ro-Ro passenger ships, with a view to promote industry uptake and to develop regulatory proposals. The project is populated by strong maritime partners, including 11 member Interferry companies.

Interferry has engaged John Garner as our project lead, including coordinating the efforts of the Maritime Operators Advisory Group, which is the main interface between the ferry industry and the project.

As part of LASH FIRE, in the fall of this year we co-sponsored a successful webinar with over 200 participants on the subject of “Fires in Alternatively Powered Vehicles”.

Domestic Ferry Safety and FERRYSAFE

Due to the pandemic, we have been delayed in making our application for the second phase of the FERRYSAFE project. We expect to do so shortly under the leadership of the new Domestic Ferry Safety Committee Chair, Oliver Weiss.

With regards to the March IMO Bangkok workshop on Domestic Ferry Safety, the in-person meeting was cancelled due to COVID-19. Instead, we participated and presented in a virtual meeting and provided a strong statement of support and assistance for IMO’s model regulations for domestic ferry safety. We plan to actively pursue this initiative once the IMO reconvenes its committee schedule in 2021.

Proposed Changes to the HSC for Slower Speed Ferries

Interferry has established an industry consortium with HSC manufacturers Austal and Incat, and classification society DNV GL. The group has commissioned a study to review the HSC Code and identified any implications of removing or adjusting the current minimum speed requirement.

The original plan was to present the findings to the IMO Maritime Safety Committee at the MSC102 meeting scheduled for May 2020, but this was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the timeline has changed, the way forward remains the same.

The presentation will be made whenever MSC102 is reconvened. It will seek support from Member States for a submission to MSC103 asking for a new agenda output to review the HSC Code’s minimum speed requirement.

Ferry Market Study

Interferry has engaged Oxford Economics in a study of the global ferry industry with the objective of determining our size and economic impact. The study will be conducted in phases, with the first phase consisting of a scoping exercise to determine if there is sufficient third-party data for Oxford Economics to fulfill the full scope of our desired study.

The first phase will also incorporate a confidential membership survey that asks for operators to supply data to Oxford Economics and Interferry so it can be used to assist in the extrapolation of global ferry market characteristics. Assuming a successful first phase of the project, the second phase will complete the work needed to define the size and economic impact of our industry, as well as our relative size compared to other industries, such as airlines and cruise ships. You will hear more about this study in the coming months.

2020 New Members

Please join me in welcoming 14 new members to our family in 2020. I’m always reinvigorated when companies have the foresight to see their marketing dollars as an investment in their future – especially during these challenging times.

• Ralph Alexson – Sweden
• Dr. Andrew Baglin – Australia
• Cummins, Inc. – USA
• Eligroup SRL – Italy
• EMCS Industries – Canada
• Mason Shipbrokers Ltd. – Great Britain
• Nextrasoft Limited – Great Britain
• NRMA Marine – Australia
• Philippines InterIsland Shipping Association – Philippines
• Pinnacle Marine Corporation – USA
• Pivotel America Ltd. – USA
• Specto Remote AS – Norway
• Starlight Italia SRL – Italy
• Sterling PBES Energy Solutions (SPBES) – Canada

As always, please consider our valuable members first when conducting your business.

New Interferry Chair and Director

At our virtual October AGM, on behalf of the membership, Directors voted Brittany Ferries CEO, Christophe Mathieu, as the new Chair of Interferry and Supapan Pichaironarongsongkram, CEO of Chao Phraya Express Boats in Thailand, as a new Director.

Directors also approved the 2nd term appointments of Directors Claes Berglund and Götz Becker; the 3rd term appointments of Directors Per Westling and Wilco van der Linden; and the annual appointment of the Officers of Interferry which includes Christophe Mathieu (President and Chairman), Tim Mooney (Vice-Chairman), Mark MacDonald (Treasurer) and me as Secretary.

We also recognized the resignations of Janette Bell and Merideth Tall who have left the ferry industry, and retirements of John Steen-Mikkelsen and Nils-Erik Eklund due to term limitations.

2021 Conference – Santander, Spain

Now that COVID-19 vaccinations are beginning to roll out in many parts of the world, the Interferry team is even more determined than ever to deliver our 2021 conference in person in Santander, Spain, which will be hosted by Brittany Ferries. We have already secured all venues, including the elegant Real Hotel and the Santander conference center.

We are encouraged to see the large number of sponsors who have already committed to the Santander conference and also by the number of inquiries we’ve recently received from potential sponsors. With the conference not commencing until October 2021, it’s entirely possible that we will approach, and possibly exceed, the level of sponsorship activity that we saw in London in 2019.

If you are thinking about sponsoring in Santander, I encourage you to contact us quickly as many of our packages have already sold out with others getting close.

Zoom Interview with Per Westling – Newbuild and Charter Market

This month I interviewed Per Westling, Managing Director at Stena RoRo and eight-year Interferry Director, about ferry operators’ most important assets after their employees – their ships. I asked him about the global newbuild and charter markets, as well as his observations on how ferry owners and shipyards are doing, and what they are planning for the future given a more optimistic, but still uncertain, 2021.

A special thanks to this month’s sponsors Wärtsilä and Inmarsat.

Per Westling, Managing Director, Stena RoRo, Sweden

You can view Per’s interview here in the Communications section.

A Message of Hope

As we close out 2020 – which I don’t think anyone will be disappointed about – I leave you with a message of hope for 2021. Hope that the vaccine rollout turns the tide on this global pandemic. Hope that advancements in rapid COVID-19 testing allows for more freedom to travel. Hope that the worst is behind you for your respective business, and most importantly, hope that you and your loved ones, like our grandchildren in the photo below, remain safe and you are able to enjoy this holiday season.

Take care and stay safe…
Mike Corrigan – CEO, Interferry

Greetings Ferry Friends,

I am writing this month’s report on Black Friday, usually the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States. It was quickly gaining speed in Canada and other parts of the world as well. For obvious reasons this year, the rush to buy deeply discounted consumer goods at malls and big box stores has come to a screeching halt – with on-line shopping picking up the remnants of what remains.

From the ferry industry’s perspective, as people once again are forced to bunker down in response to a second wave of COVID-19, ferries continue to provide much needed essential goods and services to the communities we serve – while at the same time trying to navigate through mounting debt and, once again, dwindling passenger numbers.

In a media world that delivers a constant bombardment of doom and gloom, we finally have some uplifting news that the worst may soon be behind us. If what we read is true, there are now a handful of vaccines likely to be approved and soon to be available during the first quarter of 2021. With rapid testing trials also advancing quickly across the globe, we now have a legitimate chance to realize an economic recovery during the second half of 2021. Hopefully, this comes in time for next year’s summer travel season for the ferry world.

The news regarding vaccines and quick tests is providing some hope and excitement that we may all be able to get together, once again, at our annual global conference in Santander next October.

I’m drawn to the words of my father, who told me many times to “take care of things that you can control and don’t spend too much time worrying about the things you can’t”. For Interferry, this has meant spending most of our regulatory horsepower in November on the GHG file.

In addition to briefing you on our efforts and the outcomes at IMO’s MEPC 75, I want to draw your attention to the recent Zoom interview I did with Interferry’s new Chair, Christophe Mathieu, and tell you about our efforts to enhance our social media presence, as well as acknowledge and welcome our newest members to the Interferry family.

GHGs, MEPC 75 and the way forward…

We continue our laser sharp focus on what is within our control – and at the moment, that means ensuring that we provide the best representation possible for our members regarding the ongoing GHG deliberations at the IMO. The keel will hit the water in 2023 when new regulations begin coming into effect requiring the recertification of individual ships based on a new energy efficiency index. However, it doesn’t end there. Once ships get re-certified, owners will still have to commit to a plan of continuous improvement related to reduction in their GHGs and emissions under another regulatory regime called the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII).

At the recently completed MEPC 75 session at the IMO – as expected – the energy efficiency design index for existing ships (EEXI) agreed to by participants at the intersessional meetings beforehand was approved and will be cast in stone at the next IMO MEPC 76 session in June. In the meantime, we still have considerable work to do in the next couple of months leading up next June’s session.

We still have an opportunity to tweak the outcome of EEXI calculations so as many ferries as possible meet the requirements of the new regulations. For us to do this, we need your Ro-Pax and Ro-Ro data ASAP! If you have not yet provided it to us, please do so immediately – doing this may save you a lot of pain and suffering, not to mentioned money, over the long run.

If you require more information, please click on this link to read our recent news release, watch my Zoom interview with Johan Roos, Interferry’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, and/or contact Johan directly at johan.roos@interferry.com.

Zoom Interview with Interferry Chair Christophe Mathieu

I invite you to watch my recent interview with Christophe Mathieu, our new Interferry Chair and CEO of Brittany Ferries. In addition to providing an overview of his decade-long involvement with our trade association as a Director and Chair of various committees, Christophe talks about his vision and aspirations for Interferry as we stickhandle through a global pandemic, the GHG file and strive to improve safety in the developing world.

Christophe Mathieu, Chairman and President, Interferry and CEO, Brittany Ferries, France

You can view Christophe’s interview here in the Communications section.

Interferry’s Expanding Social Media Presence

Prior to COVID-19, Interferry had been strengthening our presence in social media. With so much of our communication now going digital, we have moved to strengthen our presence even more. We now have an Interferry LinkedIn page, and recently, I created a personal profile on LinkedIn, which allows me to share information and write posts that LinkedIn doesn’t allow on its corporate sites.

We’ve also grown our followers on Twitter and are fortunate that many of our media partners retweet what we write so the information is shared to a much larger audience and not restricted to only the people that follow us directly. Our Instagram is just getting started and we could use some followers – especially from member company accounts – as we grow this newest social media presence.

We could also use our members help to grow our reach and influence by following us on our LinkedIn company page, my personal LinkedIn page, @InterferryOrg on Twitter and @interferryorg on Instagram and sharing our news with your own social media followers. This will help ensure that we continue to be the respected voice for the worldwide ferry industry.

Welcome to New Members

As a true to testament to the value and benefit of the Interferry organization, I’m extremely pleased to welcome these new members to our family during these challenging times. With a background in business development, I’m always reinvigorated when companies have the foresight to see their marketing dollars as an investment in their future.

Eligroup SRL – Italy
EMCS Industries – Canada
Specto Remote AS – Norway
Starlight Italia SRL – Italy

As always, please consider our valuable members first when conducting your business.

A Call Out to Non-Members

On a related membership note, since my monthly report is read by a number of individuals whose companies are in the ferry industry, but not members of Interferry, I would ask those readers to consider becoming members of our global trade association. The reality is that we represent your ferry-related interests, at the IMO and with other applicable regulatory bodies and governments – regardless of whether you are an Interferry member or not. A perfect example of this is the current deliberations at the IMO regarding GHGs.

Through the hard work of our regulatory office, the correction factor we have already negotiated to the EEXI formula for ferries, will save tens of dozens of ships from being tied up in 2023 – with more to be saved as we continue to tweak the formula over the coming months. It is not an understatement to say that the combined savings of this hard work will collectively save our sector billions of dollars.

As with any organization, we need resources to fight the good fight. So, if you’re not a member, please consider joining our family. After all, we truly are “Stronger Together”.

Until next time, stay safe and take care…
Mike Corrigan – CEO, Interferry

Hello Ferry Friends,

I should be writing this update on a flight back home to Canada from Hobart after participating in another successful Interferry global conference. Instead, I’m pecking away on a laptop in the confines of my home office in Victoria, British Columbia, as my black lab, Ace, stares at me from the couch beside my desk wondering why I’m spending so much time in one place.

In all seriousness though, October proved to be an active and productive month for our association even though, like pretty much everyone else, the Interferry staff continues to work from their respective home offices from various locations around the world.

During the month, we actively participated in IMO’s deliberation on GHG/emissions reductions, co-hosted a successful LASH FIRE webinar, produced two more Zoom interviews with industry leaders and conducted virtual Board of Directors and AGM meetings. These meetings approved the appointment of a new Chair and Director to the Board, as well as an exciting ferry market research project.

IMO and GHG – We Need Your Immediate Input!

While the result was different than we had proposed for the ferry sector, the tentative agreement reached at the conclusion of IMO’s Intersessional GHG meeting last week, recognizes the unique characteristics of ferries and, for the most part, provides for a solution – so upon our initial assessment, the majority of the international Ro/Pax and Ro/Ro ferry fleet will be able to continue to operate after 2023.

That’s right! In case you missed our previous correspondence on this extremely important issue, there are proposed regulations that most likely will be accepted at IMO’s MEPC 75 session in November. These proposed regulations, based on a complex EEXI formula (Energy Efficiency Design Index for Existing Ships), and our analysis of 110 Ro/Pax and Ro/Ro vessels, point to some ferries having their international certificates to operate being pulled in 2023. This is even after we successfully argued to have the adverse impacts of the EEXI formula significantly reduced for ferries, as compared to other shipping sectors.

So, what can we do to try and limit the number of non-operational ferries in the coming years? We need to get as much data as possible from our members that operate larger Ro/Pax and Ro/Ro vessels on both international and domestic routes, so we can lobby for further modifications to the EEXI calculation before it is given final approved at MEPC 76.

If you have not already provided your data to Interferry, you will be receiving a request to do so very shortly. I ask that you ensure that our request is given a high priority within your company and responded to in a timely manner, because it might just be one of your ships that we are fighting to keep operational.

To get more detail on this important matter, I encourage you to watch my Zoom interview with Johan Roos, Interferry’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, highlighted later in this update. While the interview is longer than usual at about 23 minutes, I hope you agree that it’s well worth the time invested.

Shortly after we receive the data we need from you as described above, we will need to reach out to you once again related to a second part of IMO’s GHG proposed regulations that deal with the concept of continuous improvement – also known as the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII). At that time, we will be looking for operational practices our industry has and can implement, as well as measurements that can be used, to substantiate the ferry industry push towards zero emissions and why we are leading all of shipping in that regard. So, stay tuned – there is more to come.

LASH FIRE Webinar – Fire Risks from Alternatively Powered Vehicles

As previewed in my September update, the potential risks of carrying electric cars and other Alternatively Powered Vehicles (APVs) were discussed on October 14 when the LASH FIRE Ro-Ro fire safety project staged its first-ever public webinar. Interferry and equipment manufacturers association SEA Europe, in cooperation with other partners in the four-year, European Union-funded research initiative launched last October, organized the event.

With an impressive 240 participants – ranging from flag administrations, shipowners and operators, to class societies, insurers and systems suppliers – interest in the webinar underlined the urgent need to devise APV-specific risk control solutions and regulations in response to the ever-growing market for such vehicles.

During five presentations across two hours, the overall message was that electric- and gas-powered vehicles on board ferries were not necessarily more dangerous, but posed different fire hazards to traditionally fueled vehicles. They required distinct prevention, detection and extinguishing methods, coupled with special crew training.

LASH FIRE is liaising with both industry and flag administrations to find workable solutions, with Interferry in charge of coordinating input from 12 of our members, who together form the Maritime Operators Advisory Group. This will ensure two-way quality feedback and enable the industry to continue working in harmony with the IMO on developing regulatory proposals. It is not unusual for technology to be ahead of the regulatory framework for managing innovations, so this research project – aiming to deliver tangible results that will inform future regulations – is a great example of industry-wide and Government collaboration.

Interferry CEO ZOOM Interviews – Johan Roos and John Steen-Mikkelsen

This month I interviewed Johan at length about the most important issue the ferry industry has faced for a long time or perhaps ever – GHG/emission reductions. The challenge we face is to find a way for our ships to operate after 2023, while at the same time coming up with a regulatory regime that gives the ferry sector credit for its leadership position within the shipping industry for heavily investing in batteries, electrification, hybrids, hydrogen, etc. in our push towards zero emissions.

Johan Roos, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Interferry, Sweden/Belgium

You can view Johan’s interview here in the Communications section.

I strongly encourage you to hear what Johan has to say and to get involved in the process.

I also had the pleasure of having a personal and candid conversation with John Steen-Mikkelsen, outgoing Chair of Interferry. I encourage you to watch the interview and hear what John says about the Interferry accomplishments he is most proud of, his plans for the future – both personally and professionally – and what advice he gives Interferry members as he steps down as Chairman.

John Steen-Mikkelsen, outgoing Chairman of Interferry, Denmark

You can view John’s interview here in the Communications section.

Christophe Mathieu Appointed Interferry Chairman and Supapan Pichaironarongasongkram Appointed as a New Director

At our virtual AGM, on behalf of the membership, Directors voted Brittany Ferries CEO, Christophe Mathieu, as the new Chairman of Interferry and Supapan Pichaironarongsongkram, CEO of Chao Phraya Express Boats in Thailand, as a new Director.

Upon consultation with our New York based legal counsel, as a result of global pandemic, we were advised that the most effective and efficient way to conduct our 2019 AGM was to make a temporary change to our by-laws so for a short period of time, Directors become the only voting members of the association. This temporary change to our by-laws will be rescinded once things return to normal. Here’s a link to our News Release.

Also at the AGM, Directors approved: Interferry’s 2019 KPMG audited financial statements; the 2nd term appointments of Directors Claes Berglund and Götz Becker; the 3rd term appointments of Directors Per Westling and Wilco van der Linden; and the annual appointment of the Officers of Interferry which includes Christophe Mathieu (President and Chairman), Tim Mooney (Vice-Chairman), Mark MacDonald (Treasurer) and myself as Secretary.

We also recognized the resignations of Janette Bell and Merideth Tall who have left the ferry industry, and retirements of John Steen-Mikkelsen and Nils-Erik Eklund due to term limitations.

For your information, here’s a link to the full 2019 AGM presentation in the members-only section of Interferry.com.

Ferry Market Study Update

I’m pleased to report that the Board has approved for management to engage Oxford Economics in a study of the global ferry industry that ultimately will determine our size and economic impact. The study will be conducted in phases, with the first phase being a scoping exercise to determine if there is sufficient third-party data for Oxford Economics to fulfill the full scope of Interferry’s desired study.

The first phase will also incorporate a confidential membership survey that asks for operators to supply data to Oxford Economics and Interferry so it can be used to assist in the extrapolation of global ferry market characteristics. Assuming a successful first phase of the project, the second phase will complete the work needed to define the size and economic impact of our industry, as well as our relative size compared to other industries, such as airlines and cruise ships. You will hear about this study in the coming months.

A Warm Hello from the Interferry Conference Team!

Since we could not all get together this October, the Interferry conference team, comprised of staff members and volunteers, want to reach out to everyone and say hello – we miss you and look forward to reconnecting again next year in Santander.

Since we could not all get together this October, the Interferry conference team, comprised of staff members and volunteers, want to reach out to everyone and say hello – we miss you and look forward to reconnecting again next year in Santander.

It’s now time to take Ace for a walk, so I will end my report for this month. In closing, I would like to thank John Steen-Mikkelsen for his support, leadership and friendship over the years and wish him well in the future. Likewise, I would like to recognize Nils-Erik Eklund for his 12 years of service on the Interferry board and his dedication and commitment to the ferry industry. Both of these fine gentlemen will be missed.

At the same time, through great succession planning, we are fortunate to have Christophe Mathieu to lead us through these very challenging times and I look forward to working with him.

Until next time, take care and stay safe…
Mike Corrigan – CEO, Interferry

Greetings Ferry Fans,

This has been a busy, but unusual, month for the Interferry staff. Typically, we would be in the throws of final preparations for our annual global conference that takes place each October. As previously announced, we’ve had to cancel our conference scheduled for Hobart, Australia this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and reschedule Hobart for 2023. This will follow Santander, Spain in 2021 and Marrakech, Morocco in 2022.

In this report, I’m pleased to introduce my two latest Zoom interviews, provide an update on GHG regulatory issues coming out of Interferry’s recent Operators Policy Committee (OPC) meeting, present the latest Ferry Business Report and invite you to participate in a webinar for an important fire safety initiative we are partnering in.

Interferry CEO Zoom Interviews – Germán Orozco, Ultramar Ferries and Mark Collins, BC Ferries

In an effort to stay close to you and provide an opportunity to hear from global ferry industry leaders, we have been producing my CEO Zoom interviews each month. These sessions have proven to be very popular, as we hear personal and professional accounts from each interviewee on how they are dealing with the challenges of leading their organizations through what they collectively say is one of the most difficult challenges, if not the most difficult challenge, of their careers.

This month, I had the pleasure of talking with Germán Orozco, Chairman of Ultramar Ferries & Ultramar Cargo in Mexico and Mark Collins, President and CEO of BC Ferries in Canada.

Germán Orozco talks about the significant challenges of running an operation that primarily serves tourists at a time when tourists are scarce due to COVID-19. How do you run a business when your customer base drops by 98%?

Germán Orozco, Chairman of Ultramar Ferries & Ultramar Cargo in Mexico.

You can view Germán’s interview here in the Communications section.

Germán shares the lessons he’s learned about staying the course and rethinking what you’ve taken for granted in the past – such as the difference between what you thought was a fixed and variable expense. It’s clear from listening to Germán that tourist destinations have been extremely hard hit and will have a longer road to recovery.

Mark Collins, President and CEO of BC Ferries in Canada.

You can view Mark’s interview here in the Communications section.

BC Ferries’ traffic also dropped by as much as 85%, but it has since rebounded to about 10% below this same time last year. Mark Collins talks about the impact of the pandemic on employees and their adaptability to work from home. “They knew what had to be done and they just did it,” he says.

Adapting his leadership style to take into account how people personally felt about COVID-19 was one of the learnings Mark shares in his interview. Blanket solutions weren’t effective and he talks about adapting his style to each individual’s risk tolerance and how worried they were about the pandemic.

Mark also talks about innovation and notes that one of the upsides of the pandemic just might be that customers are more open to alternatives than they have been in the past, as are government and other stakeholders.

I think you’ll find both interviews an interesting listen. Also, a special shout out to our sponsors, Liferaft Systems Australia (LSA) and Stena RoRo, for making these interviews possible.

OPC Meeting – September 10, 2020 – IMO’s GHG Deliberations and EU’s Emission Trading System

This month we hosted a virtual Interferry Operators Committee Meeting (OPC) with Green House Gas (GHG) taking the centre stage as we prepare for a busy fall agenda at IMO on emission reductions.

Over the past three years, there has been intense activity throughout the shipping industry trying to assess which of several possible future requirements on GHG emissions, if mandated, would be most meaningful. This has proven extremely challenging. The options are not mutually exclusive, and while some may sound reasonable in principle, one really needs to see the fine print of the actual improvement required before committing to any solution.

Interferry’s OPC has narrowed it down to two practical options – the EEXI and the CII. The OPC also closely observes the discussion of the third option – the EU’s ETS – which is more of a political decision. Starting with the latter, the EU Parliament this month voted that they want international shipping to be included in an Emission Trading System (ETS). This means that ships calling EU ports will have to purchase rights for their respective GHG emissions from a dwindling pool of emission rights. This should in theory incentivize operators to invest in new technology and to change their operational practices.

However, it is still not clear whether individual EU member states support this development. In fact, the EU tried something similar in the aviation industry a few years ago and there was such a strong reaction from non-EU countries that the scheme had to be reduced to only affecting flights within Europe.

For the international shipping community, the ETS is a major concern. The unilateral EU scheme would significantly undermine the IMO as the main regulatory body of international shipping. Furthermore, the complexities of being in such a scheme may be significant for ships that rarely call on an EU port. There are also concerns over intermediary ports being developed adjacent to the EU border to minimize the GHG cost component for journeys to and from the EU. It is common knowledge that the EU wishes to use the proceeds of the ETS to help fund the so called “Green Deal”.

For ferry services, the picture is different. Our non-EU members would, by default, not be affected. For those operators that fall under the scope of the EU’s ETS, there is definitely a cost associated with the scheme, but it does offer some security in knowing that ships may continue to operate regardless of their perceived nominal GHG performance. The main question for ferry operators within the EU is: Is the ETS more or less challenging than what regulations could potentially come out from the IMO?

Interferry and its members have spent the past 10 years helping the IMO develop technical requirements that build on the historic performance of ferries, as have other sectors in the shipping industry. The main result is the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) that was introduced for new ships in 2015. However, the general IMO approach to use the “average performance” within a shipping sector as a benchmark for future requirements has proven very unreliable and unpredictable for the ferry sector. As soon as the EEDI was introduced, we had to engage in a massive overhaul to make it work for ferries. Despite that, we do not believe that a tougher EEDI has merit, as ship designers now report they have to design for the EEDI rather than designing for true efficiency improvement. These problems are due to the large diversity within our sector, where it is practically impossible to define what an “average” ferry is.

To that end, we are currently revisiting all the data we have collected over the years, trying to ascertain if we can endorse the spin-off version of the EEDI to be applied to existing ferries, namely the Efficiency Index for Existing Ships (EEXI). This is the favoured option among many of our colleagues in other shipping sectors. They have typically scaled up in size and slowed down in speed over the past decade, which allows their vessels to perform at least as good as the average of the fleet. Additionally, many sectors know they have a fall-back position if nothing else works – they can limit their installed power, thus reducing average speed by a knot or so, which will normally be enough to get this new EEXI certificate.

Recognizing the need for operational flexibility, the OPC has tasked the Interferry staff to find alternative ways that highlight efficiency improvements our members have made in their respective fleets. One such solution would be to only compare a particular ferry with its own historic performance, which would significantly simplify the equation. The main concern of proceeding with such individual operational requirements – Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) – is the current uncertainty of what the actual level of annual improvement would be mandated on the ship and which base year the ferry would use as its starting point. This factor takes us back to the fundamental problem of committing to a solution in principle without knowing the actual numerical level to comply with.

There are two virtual IMO sessions coming up in October and November 2020, where the GHG file needs to be narrowed down to a point of decision so the IMO can meet its January 1, 2023 implementation date. Now is the time to lean on our strong network of Member States and other influencers to help ensure that the mistakes of the past aren’t repeated and the ferry industry is dragged into a scheme that doesn’t fit our unique nature and that no one really understands. We strongly suggest that Interferry members speak to their national administrations and ensure that their IMO representatives recognize the importance of getting this right. It could be that keeping ferries on the side-line may be the most constructive way forward right now.

Autumn/Winter 2020 Ferry Business Report in Partnership with International Cruise & Ferry Review Magazine

We are pleased to partner once again with International Cruise and Ferry Review magazine for the publication of its semi-annual Ferry Business Report. In this fall’s report you can read stories about a number of our members including Paul Melles of Rederij Doeksen, Amy Scarton from Washington State Ferries, Fran Collins of Red Funnel, Robbie Drummond from Caledonian MacBrayne and David Sopta of Jadrolinija. Interferry’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, Johan Roos, also provides a regulatory update in this edition. Here’s link to the latest Ferry Business Report as well as previous issues.

Free LASH FIRE Webinar – October 14, 2020

As a partner, we continue to be heavily involved in the EU’s LASH FIRE project. Interferry, along other partners, has organized a free public webinar on October 14. The topic of the session will be Fires in Alternatively Powered Vehicles Onboard Ships. Here’s the registration link if you would like to participate.

That wraps up another interesting month here at Interferry as we all continue to manage through these still very uncertain times and plan for the future as best we can.

On a related note, the Interferry Board of Directors will be holding the last of its three yearly meetings virtually on October 27, 2020. In next month’s report, I look forward to reporting on the outcomes of this meeting that we typically hold in conjunction with our annual conference.

Until next time, stay safe, healthy and take care…
Mike Corrigan – CEO, Interferry

Hello Everyone,

As we head into the fall session in the northern half of the world and reflect on a summer that has been anything but normal, it still is extremely difficult – if not impossible – to foresee the future relative to the economic impact of COVID-19 and the overall transportation industry. One thing is certain though, as predicted, ferries have proven to be the safest and most popular travel mode during the pandemic.

Unfortunately, this is likely small consolation for our sector, which is still experiencing drops in traffic of somewhere between 30 to 50 percent – with our busiest three months of the year now behind us – and a mountain of fixed costs to manage through the quieter fall/winter period.

To that end, in this month’s report I would like to tell you about a global ferry market impact study we are undertaking in an effort to get more assistance from various regulators and governments, as well as changes to the regulatory section of our website that will provide a quick reference to the key files we are actively engaged in.

Also, as part of our ongoing series of interviews with global ferry industry leaders, I’m pleased to present two more Zoom interviews with Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS, and Tim Mooney, President and Owner of Fire Island Ferries.

Interferry Initiates Global Ferry Market Impact Study

Following guidance from the Board, as set out in the most recent strategic plan, staff has begun the process of undertaking market research to define the size and impact of the global ferry operator market.

Earlier this summer, the Board participated in a scoping exercise to identify key deliverables for the research. Using outcomes from that exercise, we developed a Request for Proposals and sent it to five internationally recognized consulting groups.

Specifically, the objectives are:

1. To collect a database of all operators in the global market that includes a variety of company characteristics.

2. To determine the direct and indirect economic impact of the industry by geographic region through the development of multipliers.

3. Comparatively analyze the economic impact of the ferry industry relative to other related industries (examples: airline, cruise ship).

4. Measure the impact of COVID 19 travel restrictions on ferry dependent communities.

Proposals are due to be received by September 18. Staff will review and provide recommendation for selection of the consultant team to the Board at its October 27 meeting. Research will be conducted during the period November 2020 through June 2021, with a final report due no later than the end of August 2021. This is all subject to the responses we receive from the consulting companies falling within our financial parameters.

During the research process, Interferry members may be called on to provide input. I want to assure you that the detailed information collected during this research project will be kept confidential and used strictly for assisting Interferry in its regulatory efforts to define the size and impact of the global ferry market. The consultants will produce an aggregated report, but in no way will characteristics of individual operators be apparent.

We would appreciate your cooperation in helping us collect this data, which ultimately, will be used to enhance our lobbying efforts and influence with regulators and governments around the world.

Enhancements to the Regulatory Section of Interferry’s Website

In an effort to make it easier to get a quick snapshot of the key regulatory issues we are working on via Johan Roos’ office, we have created a “Key Regulatory Issues” submenu tab in the Regulatory Affairs section of our website. By clicking on issues like Ro-Pax Fire Safety, Greenhouse Gases, HSC Code and EGCS, you will be able to get a background summary of each issue, its current status and the next steps that we will be undertaking.

Here’s a link to the Regulatory section for your review. As always, your feedback is appreciated as we strive to make these updates as useful as possible.

Interferry CEO Zoom Interviews: Torben Carlsen of DFDS, Denmark and Tim Mooney of Fire Island Ferries, New York

As I mentioned at the outset, this month I had the opportunity to interview Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS in Copenhagen, Denmark and Tim Mooney, President and owner operator of Fire Island Ferries in the United States.

DFDS has an intricate system of ferry operations throughout Europe. Torben Carlsen assumed the role of CEO about a year ago but has been with the company for almost a decade. He remarked that the change into the role of CEO has been more difficult than he anticipated, and I’m certain that COVID-19 didn’t make it any easier. “You feel a different pressure as CEO,” he offered. “It’s easier to give advice and let someone else decide, but that role now falls to me. I was also in need of a new CFO and while we waited for that, I had a broader range of responsibilities.”

Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS in Denmark.

You can view Torben’s interview here in the Communications section.

Like everyone in the ferry industry, COVID-19 was a shock for DFDS, with greater impact than anyone first thought. Torben talks about the opportunity that has come out of COVID-19 and how he introduced regular video logs as a way to communicate with employees, especially given the need to furlough about one-third of the company.

DFDS runs RoPax, RoRos and passenger ferries and also has a land-based logistics business. Torben talks about how the automotive industry shut-down affected his business and how he is steering the company towards recovery. Torben is candid and frank in his comments, and I think you will find the interview as interesting to watch as I did when I talked with him.

For smaller operators, and to understand what the experience was like for Fire Island ferries, the interview with Tim Mooney, incoming Vice Chair of Interferry and owner operator of Fire Island Ferries in New York, offers a wealth of advice to other operators. One of the advantages of being a smaller operator is that Tim could make decisions quickly in real time, which is exactly what he needed to do to deal with the impact of COVID-19.

Tim Mooney, President of Fire Island Ferries in the USA.

You can view Tim’s interview here in the Communications section.

Tim’s experience is similar to most operators: the drop in ridership was dramatic as passengers lacked the confidence to travel in the early days of COVID-19. Today, ridership remains down between 35 to 40 percent and Tim says he appreciates that it isn’t worse as he knows other ferry operators and other industries saw even more significant drops in travelers and revenue.

Please watch the interview to learn more about his strategy for recovery and how his focus on the expense side of the equation is helping manage the downturn.

In concluding my report this month, I’m drawn to the words of both Torben and Tim during their interviews. Torben’s personal comments regarding leadership are timely and inspirational. Tim’s reflection that the ferry industry has withstood everything mother nature and the economy has thrown at it over the years are much needed by all of us as we continue to fight this invisible enemy.

Until next time, stay safe…
Mike Corrigan – CEO, Interferry

Hello Everyone,

This month, I would like to provide you with some background on our efforts in the area of public consultation, introduce our recently launched Instagram Interferry account and present my CEO Zoom interviews with Chet Pastrana of Archipelago Philippine Ferries and Anders Ørgård of OSK Design Group.

Interferry’s Consultative Role

When devising new policies and preparing new regulations, many governments and other authorities reach out to citizens and industry associations. For the ferry industry, by far the most prolific issuer of public consultations is the European Union (EU).

Every week the EU invites us to provide our input on matters that affect our industry. We have to prioritize the areas to invest our time in. Our current priorities for ongoing consultation with the EU are reducing CO2 emissions from shipping and Passenger Rights Legislation.

Due to the volume of consultative requests and tight timelines, we typically don’t send these consultations out to the members, but rather seek targeted input. We also have found it effective to put operators in direct contact with the consultants undertaking these studies on behalf of the EU.

This month, for example, we were supported by two members who provided extensive input on the evaluation of the EU Passenger Rights Regulation via a web meeting. This is an interesting area for Interferry to provide our input, since we strongly support part of the regulation and are equally opposed to part of it. We endorse the part of the regulation that encourages operators to harmonize their approach on how to provide the necessary services to Persons with Reduced Mobility (PRM). We find that part of the regulation is overly punitive for ferry operators who have to cancel sailings.

The punitive nature of Passenger Rights Legislation can be traced back to the aviation industry’s common practice to overbook flights and, on short notice, cancel flights that are not well utilized. To stop this practice, rules were put in place requiring airlines to reimburse, reroute and compensate stranded passengers. While this may make sense for the aviation industry, Interferry argues that because of the very different nature of cancellations in our industry, transposing such requirements from aviation to the ferry industry is ill-informed.

Many ferries operate in remote areas where there are few alternative means, and sometimes none, to transport passengers to their destinations, without delay, in cases where the ferry crossing is cancelled due to technical reasons. While this is an inconvenience to all parties involved (not to mention a huge revenue loss for the operator), it is not reasonable to ask the operator to both carry the cost of re-routing the passenger and to pay compensation for the delay. It is certainly even less reasonable for some countries to issue administrative fines on top of the re-routing and compensation costs. In one extreme case, an operator had to pay the government of jurisdiction a €250,000 fine for such a cancellation.

Overall, public consultation can be an effective tool to help develop better regulations. So we need to keep a keen eye on the the consultations most important to our industry and ensure our voice is heard.

Interferry Launches Instagram

I’m pleased to share the news that Interferry is now on Instagram. Please follow us at @interferryorg.

In our strategic planning session, we talked about the benefit of Interferry promoting ferry travel as well as the ferry industry, and Instagram is a platform that will help us do just that. The Instagram account will be used exclusively to promote ferry travel on Interferry member vessels.

Instagram is a social media platform that is primarily image-based, lending itself well to showcasing the vessels of our members and the destinations they service. While post captions will include key information such as the name of the ferry line, vessel and/or location, the driving force will be the power of the images that convey the fun, beauty, convenience and – especially in the time of COVID-19 – the health and safety aspects of traveling via ferry.

We plan for the majority of our feed to be an aggregate of the images our members have posted to their own Instagram accounts. We will curate relevant images from operators and “regram” them, with permission of course.

We will also use an effective marketing strategy popular with many businesses and organizations on Instagram – taking advantage of User/Customer Generated Content (UGC). Regramming testimonial images from happy ferry customers is a great way to promote the ferry industry.

CEO Zoom Interviews – Anders Ørgård and Chet Pastrana

This month I had the opportunity to interview Anders Ørgård, Chief Commercial Officer for OSK Group in Denmark and Chet Pastrana, CEO of Archipelago Philippine Ferries.

I hope you enjoy the interviews – you can view them here in the Communications section of Interferry.com.

Anders Ørgård, CCO of OSK Group in Denmark.

As many of you know, OSK Group is a mid-size consultancy with 60 employees that focuses on ship design and construction, primarily for passenger ships, as well as concept development and interior design.

Like the majority of businesses serving the ferry industry, Ørgård shared that COVID-19 has affected OSK Group, but in some unusual ways. The company has more concept work now than it had 12 months ago, as a number of clients are preparing to take advantage of shipyards that may come under pressure from reduced orders and the opportunity to get their passenger ferries built sooner and at a lower cost.

Some ferry operators may be delaying plans for acquiring new vessel acquisitions due to COVID-19, and instead, are extending the lives of their existing fleet, optimizing vessels, converting ships to comply with new COVID-19 guidelines, and converting vessels to new, more environmentally sustainable fuels – all work that requires the services of a company like OSK Group.

Ørgård points out that opportunities always exist in a downturn, from construction costs being reduced to scheduling opening up. Some companies will be well-positioned to take advantage of these opportunities, which in turn, creates opportunities for a company like his own.

Chet Pastrana, CEO of Archipelago Philippine Ferries.

Chet Pastrana also talked about opportunities that have presented themselves as a result of COVID-19. While the transportation industry in the Philippines – land, air and rail – were completely shut down in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the maritime industry became the backbone for the delivery of lifeline goods and services to the more than 1,000 islands that make up the Philippines.

Pastrana says that despite the impact COVID-19 has had on passenger ferry traffic, delivering much needed goods are something his company is committed to doing for the people of the Philippines.

Pastrana has had to shave some of his plans for the acquisition of new vessels in the future, but has two vessels built and waiting for COVID-19 restrictions to ease for delivery, two vessels under construction, and five under construction for next year. He’s also using this time to continue to upgrade the skills of his maritime workforce, focusing on e-learning.

Pastrana says he values his membership in Interferry and continually learns from the experiences of other operators. He also looks forward to integrating some of the more than 20,000 Filipino seafarers who have returned to the islands following the closure of the cruise industry and cutbacks in other maritime services due to COVID-19. He hopes that these experienced seafarers can now help the domestic ferry industry and use their international experience to improve safety at home.

I look forward to hearing your comments, suggestions and feedback during these extraordinary times and still very uncertain future.

Until next month, stay safe and healthy…
Mike Corrigan – CEO, Interferry

Greetings Ferry Friends,

As I write my report for the month that starts the summer season in much of the world, I truly hope that your business is experiencing some sort of recovery from the depths of the pandemic. From what I can tell, it is still pretty much a mixed bag around the world, with a few countries almost back to pre-COVID days and others still in some phase of a lockdown. I am encouraged to see that, as we predicted, ferry travel will be the leading mode of public transportation for people wanting to experience a summer getaway. In this month’s report, I want to tell you about our newest foray into social media, provide an update on key regulatory initiatives, welcome our newest members and introduce two more ferry leaders that I recently interviewed via Zoom.

Interferry Launches LinkedIn Company Page

I’m pleased to report that we now have an Interferry company page on LinkedIn to augment our social media presence, as we continue to expand our global presence and reach. We plan to use LinkedIn to post our News Releases, Interferry News and my CEO Updates, as well as media stories that feature our association. I encourage you to visit our LinkedIn page, follow us and share the link with your associates: https://www.linkedin.com/company/interferry

GHG Update

As we previously reported, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the timelines for IMO deliberations on GHG requirements have been delayed, requiring us to revise our strategy. We submitted a paper on the challenges of the EEXI (Energy Efficiency requirements for eXisting ships) to the MEPC75 session that should have been held in April. Building on that discussion, we planned to submit a proposal to MEPC76 (originally scheduled for October 2020) on an equivalency solution for ro-ro cargo and ro-ro passenger ships.

We have not yet been informed by the IMO when MEPC75 will be held. However, a round of informal on-line discussions with IMO stakeholders will take place on July 6-9, where we will use that forum to advance our position relevant to the unique aspects of the ferry sector. As part of our strategy, we will be reaching out for support from countries that have a strong interest in our sector and have expressed concerns over the EEXI-approach for ro-ro type ships.

It now seems that the shipping industry is heading towards a regulatory framework containing both a certified design performance (EEXI) and requirements for annual operational improvement Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII). Since we know that the EEDI/EEXI approach, for a variety of reasons, does not reward ro-ro/ro-pax operators who take action to improve true energy efficiency (slowing down, hybridization, low-carbon fuels), we will be supporting a truly goal-based operational approach where it is up to each ship to comply with the ultimate target, which will be measured by annual improvements in the ship’s CII.

EU’s Healthy Gateways Interim COVID Guidance

On June 24, an EU Project issued “Interim advice for preparedness and response to cases of COVID-19 on board ferries after lifting restrictive measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

This document is not official EU Guidance but has been developed by this EU Project in close cooperation with Interferry and other stakeholders. We expect that an official EU Guidance will eventually be developed that will not differ significantly from this interim version.

Compared to earlier versions, the Guidance now recognizes that different member states may have different requirements and that operators shall not be designated roles that should fall under government obligation, e.g. pre-boarding inspections.

Interferry members are encouraged to provide feedback on items in the Guidance that are not considered meaningful or practical, or any additional issues that should be addressed.

New Member Welcome

I’m very pleased to welcome our eight newest members to the Interferry family.

• Dr. Andrew Baglin – Australia
• Cummins Inc. – USA
• Mason Shipbrokers Ltd. – Great Britain
• Nextrasoft Limited – Great Britain
• NRMA Maritime – Australia
• Pinnacle Marine Corporation – USA
• Pivotel America Ltd. – USA
• Sterling PBES Energy Solutions (SPBES) – Canada

It’s great to see that even in these extremely trying times, companies see value in belonging to our association. From my business development experience, many companies retract their marketing budgets during economic downturns and cancel or delay their membership in associations such as ours, when in fact, they should be doing the exact opposite and invest in their futures.

Interferry CEO Zoom Interviews • Mark MacDonald and Christophe Mathieu

After our first set of interviews exceeded our viewership expectations, we are pleased to present two more ferry industry leaders this month. This month’s interviews are sponsored by Austal, Damen and MTU.

Mark MacDonald, Chairman and CEO of Northumberland Ferries and Bay Ferries on the east coast of Canada, talks about the unique nature of his domestic and international operations.

Christophe Mathieu, CEO of Brittany Ferries in France, provides an overview of his business, which is highly dependent on the UK market.

Both industry leaders provide their advice and encouragement to their counterparts around the world relative to managing through the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope you enjoy the interviews, you can view them here.

Until next month, stay safe…
Mike Corrigan – CEO, Interferry

Hello Ferry Friends,

The words I keep hearing this month across our industry are “cautious optimism” and “staycations”. This is, of course, within the context that we might have some resemblance of a summer travel season in the northern hemisphere – albeit on a much smaller, more localized and regional basis. To that end, we have spent considerable resources this month ensuring that governments, health officials and the traveling public can be confident the ferry industry is ready to safely welcome back our passenger traffic.

In this month’s report, I’m excited to introduce the first set of Zoom interviews that I conducted with two respected leaders in our industry. We plan for these interviews to be a key part of our engagement and communications strategy with our members for at least the remainder of the year – given that in person meetings and gathering are challenging, to say the least.

Interferry Welcomes Easing of Travel Restrictions

On May 15 we issued the above titled News Release in response to increasing signals across the globe that ferry routes would soon be opening up to more than just the movement of lifeline goods and essential travel. To say that this is welcome news might be the biggest understatement in my 17+ years in the ferry industry. Throughout the world, we are pleased to see that more and more governments and health agencies are recognizing that ferries will be the preferred choice of transportation for most travelers as restrictions loosen up – given their ability to adhere to physical distancing onboard and at the terminals, as well as the many other safety measures the industry has adopted.

These measures, COVID-19 Guidance for Ferries, were developed through Interferry’s Operators Policy Committee in consultation with operator members and issued via Johan Roos’ Regulatory Report to the membership and also to European Union’s (EU’s) Commissioner for Transport (COM). Johan reports that our Guidance was very well received by the EU COM. In fact, we have been invited to participate in the EU COM’s Healthy Gateways project and to provide assistance with the development of its comprehensive COVID guidelines for European ferries.

Interferry CEO Zoom Interviews with Industry Leaders

As referenced in my opening, I’m pleased to be able bring you something new from Interferry this month. Without a conference this year or other opportunities for in-person contact with ferry leaders, we thought the next best thing would be to bring them to you virtually. Each interview will be sponsored by our loyal, recommitted supporters for the 2021 conference in Santander, Spain starting with our Platinum sponsors – Carus and DNV GL – this month.

I recently interviewed Amy Scarton, Head of Washington State Ferries in the USA, and Sean Collins, CEO of Thames Clippers in London. As could be expected, I asked them about effects of the pandemic on their respective operations, what a recovery will look like for them, what things might look like a year or so from now, and how they have altered their direction and/or decision making as a result of this life altering event. I hope you enjoy their interviews – they can be found here on interferry.com.

I look forward to hearing your feedback on the Zoom interviews and any suggestions you have, as we continue to improve the process going forward. I’m also “cautiously optimistic” that the next time I speak to you, your operations will have begun to return to some form of normalcy and the “staycation” market materializes.

Take care and stay safe…
Mike Corrigan – CEO, Interferry

Hello Everyone,

I hope this update finds you and your family safe and healthy during these very trying and uncertain times.

2020 Hobart Conference Postponed to 2023

This month I have some very disappointing news to share with you. At the Interferry Board of Directors teleconference meeting on April 28, we made a very a difficult, but obvious decision to cancel our 2020 conference scheduled from October 24 to 28 in Hobart, Australia. This will be the first time in Interferry’s 45-year history that we will not be able to host a conference. Even in 2001 after September 11, Interferry hosted a scaled-down conference in Seattle.

If there’s any good news in all of this it’s that the Interferry Board awarded Hobart the 2023 conference (following Santander in 2021 and Marrakech in 2022). We will all still get a chance to experience the hospitality of Bernard Dwyer’s team at TT-Line Spirit of Tasmania and the rugged beauty of Hobart and the State of Tasmania.

The decision to cancel the 2020 conference was essentially made for us when we were informed that the governments of Australia and Tasmania have shutdown their respective borders to international travelers until at least the end of this year. We briefly considered trying to move the conference to another location in the world, but with COVID-19’s impact on the globe, international travel anywhere in the world is unlikely for the remainder of this year.

On behalf of all of us at Interferry, I would like to thank all our sponsors who committed to Hobart. We are hopeful and would sincerely appreciate if all our valued sponsorship partners would carry over their commitments from 2020 to 2021 when we reconvene in Santander.

Operators Policy Committee (OPC) Meeting • March 11, 2020

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we changed a one-day in-person OPC meeting scheduled for March 11 to a one-hour teleconference meeting to deal exclusively with Interferry’s position relative to GHG at the upcoming IMO’s MEPC 75 session. However, the IMO subsequently canceled the session planned for late March and early April due to COVID-19. At this time, it is not known when and how the IMO will recommence its various committee meetings.

Nevertheless, when MEPC 75 does take place, the OPC decided that Interferry will steer away from technical, prescriptive requirements for both new and existing ro-ro cargo and passenger ships, and work towards lobbying for operational requirements. In part, this reduces the uncertainties of dealing with one-off certifications such as the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and gives operators access to a full suite of possible GHG mitigation measures for compliance – such as voluntarily slowing down, utilization of low blended bio-fuel, hybridization, route optimization, and so on. We are asking for more operational flexibility than other segments of the shipping industry due to our more complex and diverse operational characteristics.

IMO Meeting • Domestic Ferry Safety • Teleconference • March 17, 2020

As a result of global COVID-19 travel restrictions, a two-day in-person Bangkok meeting on Domestic Ferry Safety organized by the IMO and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), and sponsored by Interferry, was turned into a one-day teleconference meeting that took place on March 17.

Nineteen people participated in the meeting representing 10 countries/organizations. Countries that participated included: Bangladesh, China, India, Malaysia and Thailand. Johan Roos, Dr. Neil Baird and myself represented Interferry. Dr. Baird delivered an excellent presentation on “Why Domestic Ferry Safety is Improving in Asia”. I addressed the group reconfirming Interferry’s core principal of safety and our overarching goal of improving ferry safety in the developing world.

At the end of the teleconference, the “Bangkok Declaration 2020”, which outlined enhancing domestic ferry safety in the Asia Pacific region and the development of model regulations, was presented for participants to endorse. Interferry was pleased to support the declaration and strongly supports the establishment of model regulations, through the IMO, once its Maritime Safety Committee resumes its schedule. Here’s a link to the declaration as well as the UN ESCAP website that provides more information on the meeting and access to all the presentations that were made throughout the day.

Interferry’s Call for Amendments to EU Passenger Rights Legislation

The OPC members and Interferry staff spent considerable time this month at meetings with and the drafting of letters to the EC. We requested that the EC’s Passenger Rights legislation be amended to allow operators the option to provide credits for future travel as opposed to cash refunds only. This would come with the caveat that operators would agree to provide cash refunds at a reasonable point of time in the future, if passengers weren’t able to use their credits for ferry travel. This issue is very important to many of our members who need to preserve as much working capital as possible to survive current downturns in traffic, ranging from 75 to 90 percent, and the very real possibility that the lucrative summer travel season may not materialize.

This request, specific to our European members, comes on the heals of an earlier request Interferry made on behalf of all global member operators for governments at all levels to provide financial support to operators as they continue to provide life-line service while racking up unsustainable losses. I’m pleased to see that at least a handful of governments have stepped in to directly support their respective ferry industries. Still, much more needs to be done now that the busy summer season is in doubt for the majority of our northern hemisphere members.

In closing, I would like to reassure you that the Interferry team will do everything in our power to ensure that our 45th annual conference, now scheduled for Santander in 2021, will be a resounding success – and once again bring together families, friends and colleagues from all over the ferry world.

Likewise, whether virtually or in person, we will continue our laser sharp focus to ensure the voice of the ferry industry is heard loudly and clearly at the IMO, EU and other flag states around the world. Interferry will continue to be the conduit that connects the global ferry community.

Now more than ever, take care and stay safe…
Mike Corrigan – CEO, Interferry