Ferry Business - Autumn/Winter 2017

International Cruise & Ferry Review Ferry Business COMMENTARY 66 Working together for growth Interferry CEO Mike Corrigan explains the motivation driving the trade association’s far-reaching strategy e run a tight ship at Interferry, and right now, all hands are on deck as we approach our 42nd annual conference in Split, Croatia this October. At the busiest time of our year, it’s the ultimate reminder of two words that have steered my mission since I took the helm in April – stronger together. Why is this guiding principle so crucial? The clues are in our latest three-year strategic plan, which seeks to advance Interferry’s profile and enhance membership benefits. Among our key objectives, we aim to grow our role as the worldwide voice of the industry; to promote safety and quality improvement; to extend our influence in developing international regulations; and to increase opportunities for members to share knowledge. Strength from unity is key to delivering these lobbying and networking objectives. That’s because the ferry sector occupies a relatively small niche in shipping and transport, although ‘small’ might be misleading to the uninitiated. In fact, globally we carry more than two billion passengers – almost equal to airlines – and 32 million freight units annually. Even so, it’s very clear on the lobbying front that we need to punch above our weight to ensure politicians and regulators fully recognise our social and economic worth. Often, we seem to be an afterthought. For example, only 3% of total European Union (EU) transport funding is currently devoted to ferries, despite rising demand for our services and constant political clamouring for an eco- friendly modal shift of goods from road to sea. In response, I have pressed our case to the EU for greater investment and involvement. Likewise, the ferry sector has felt overlooked by various International Maritime Organization safety and environmental proposals on issues such as damage stability, the Energy Efficiency Design Index and the Ballast Water Management Convention. The potential technical solutions were more suited to deep- sea vessels, rather than the distinct design and operational requirements of ferries. Using Interferry’s consultative status, we campaigned for sector-specific amendments that protect both regulatory targets and the sector’s commercial viability. As for networking and information exchange, there’s a compelling reason why several hundred high-ranking operators and suppliers travel from across the world to attend our annual conference. According to our post- event surveys, the main incentive is to talk to each other, listen and learn from many of our members who are in the vanguard of major developments that will be reflected in the main themes of this year’s event. These include ship technology, notably electrification and energy alternatives; safety initiatives, including Interferry’s best practice guides and new Safety Committee; and customer service, featuring a panel session with four CEOs. We’re working to provide further networking platforms in future. Meanwhile, I hope to see you in Croatia, where I look forward to welcoming you onboard if you’re not already among our 200-plus member companies in 37 countries. Growing our membership will increase our collective power to grasp opportunities, overcome challenges and establish the Interferry community as a mark of quality recognised by authorities and customers alike. That’s what I mean by stronger together. C&F Mike Corrigan Following senior posts in the energy industry, Mike Corrigan spent 13 years in leadership positions with Canada’s BC Ferries, the last five as president and CEO. He was an elected Interferry director and treasurer, before becoming the association’s CEO this year ”Growing our membership will increase our collective power to grasp opportunities and overcome challenges”