Two major examples of Interferry’s growing influence will be highlighted next week at the global trade association’s 39th annual conference in Vancouver.
CEO Len Roueche will report on his nomination to a new UN high level advisory group on sustainable transport, while executive director for European Union and IMO affairs Johan Roos will explain a breakthrough by ferry operators in obtaining EU funding to help them comply with the low sulphur rules that enter force in Emission Control Areas next January.
The recently confirmed EU aid has been granted under the Trans-European Network for Transport (TEN-T) programme, which includes the Motorways of the Seas (MoS) initiative promoting environmentally friendly alternatives to overland transport. Previous TEN-T funding focused on road, rail and port infrastructure, with ships largely excluded because they were defined as ‘floating assets’.
Now several years of intense lobbying by Interferry and its members has been acknowledged in the latest list of approved MoS schemes, with four operators – Brittany Ferries, P&O Ferries, DFDS and Scandlines – awarded 20-50% of project costs for trialling LNG and scrubber installations.
Mr Roos comments: “It is rewarding to note that, of the €80m on offer, some €35m will help support ferry companies as they seek solutions to the pending sulphur storm. Better still, the next round of MoS funding is about to be announced and expected to endorse a threefold increase to €250m, so pro-rata the ferry industry can expect even more aid towards making LNG and scrubber developments financially viable.”
The current round includes awards for:
- · completion of a first Brittany Ferries LNG retrofit as a pilot for two more ships in the fleet
- · deployment of a unique tri-modal scrubber system on two P&O Ferries vessels
- · installation of scrubbers on five DFDS ro-ro vessels
- · retrofit of hybrid propulsion on two Scandlines ferries
Meanwhile Mr Roueche has started work with the UN advisory group, attending the first informal meeting in New York on September 24 ahead of the first formal meeting scheduled for November. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the launch of the group in August to provide recommendations on environmentally and economically sustainable marine, air, rail, road and urban transport solutions at global, national and local levels.
Established for a three-year period, the group consists of 12 invited members. These include senior representatives from Maersk, Volvo, Deutsche Post DHL, the International Society of City and Regional Planners, the International Association of Public Transport, the International Union of Railways and the China Energy Fund, together with the Russian Federation’s deputy minister of the interior, the mayors of Santiago and Nouakchott (Mauritania) and Mexico City’s environment secretary.
Members at the meeting gave brief presentations on their vision of achievable goals. On behalf of Interferry – which has consultative status at the IMO – Mr Roueche pointed out that ferries carry more than two billion passengers and 300 million vehicles each year, with safety and economic viability representing the two key elements of the industry’s sustainability. He outlined the association’s cooperation with the IMO to enhance safety in developing nations and on domestic services, and also stressed the potential of ferries to help relieve urban congestion in cities such as Istanbul and Lagos, Nigeria.
The Interferry conference in Vancouver takes place on October 6-7 as the central part of a five-day working and social programme. Other conference sessions will include three panel discussions – on the human side of safety, subsidies at state-owned operators and the future of ro-pax shipping – as well as topics ranging from onboard revenue opportunities to the business case for LNG fuel.
With 290 delegates already pre-registered, final attendance is expected to challenge the record of 311 delegates who took part in the 2010 conference in New York.