Ferry Business - Autumn/Winter 2018

International Cruise & Ferry Review Ferry Business 66 ”The future looks promising for ferry owners, operators, builders, designers and suppliers” What are the greatest challenges currently facing ferry operators? New emission regulations come into effect in 2020, forcing many ferry operators to make some significant decisions about how they will comply. They will also need to maintain compliance with several new International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations, such as those relating to ballast water management and stability. Another key challenge is that most of the reputable ferry builders have full order books for the next five years, so there is a shortage of slots for operators who are contemplating newbuild programmes. This is particularly true in the high-speed sector where builders like Incat and Austal have recently received orders for large high-speed passenger and vehicle ferries. It seems that lead times are extending with the larger, more versatile yards having several contracts for newbuilds to be delivered in 2022 and beyond. The cruise ship industry has not helped this situation with many cruise ships on order or under construction, tying up the large shipbuilders well into the future. What are the big opportunities? The opportunities are significant for ferry owners who operate their vessels with a high degree of safety and high level of customer satisfaction. Owners who are investing in new tonnage will no doubt reap the benefits of a strong economy in their respective geographical routes. We are seeing some of the major European owners amalgamating, and in turn strengthening, their markets, increasing services for passengers and freight companies. The new generation of ferries are significantly more efficient, which maximises the return on investment for ferry owners. The global economy seems to be improving, which is also providing opportunities for ferry owners to expand and take advantage of tourist dollars. How do you think alternative modes of transport will impact the growth of sea travel in future? Alternative modes of transport aren’t necessarily increasing; governments will always build bridges and airlines will always cater for the needs of their particular industry sector. However, we’ve recently seen that the new generation of ferry transport can (in most cases) compete with bridges or airlines. The Great Belt Bridge in Denmark – which has a toll of €32.00 (US$36) per car – is an example where ferry operations in the area are actually increasing. We have witnessed Sanguine times Mike Grainger, managing director of Liferaft Systems Australia, chairman of TT-Line Spirit of Tasmania and chairman of Interferry, chats to Jon Ingleton about the future of the ferry industry INTERVIEW