Study reveals huge economic impact of ferry industry
A study commissioned by the Interferry trade association has revealed startling statistics on the sheer extent of the global ferry industry’s value to the global economy.
Research into the latest pre-Covid year figures revealed that in 2019, ferries carried 4.27 billion passengers – on par with aviation – and 373 million vehicles across a global fleet of 15 400 ships. Among other findings, the industry provided 1.1 million jobs, contributed $ 60 billion to global GDP, and accounted for around 20% of the economic value of shipping to the European Union.
The study was carried out by UK consultancy firm Oxford Economics, a world leader in economic impact assessment. He quantified three main channels through which the ferry industry stimulates economic activity and employment – direct support generated by the industry, indirect support generated within its supply chain and induced support from personnel. ferries and the supply side spending their wages on goods and services. The data was collected from various third-party sources and among the 260 operators and suppliers who are members of Interferry in 40 countries.
Interferry CEO Mike Corrigan said: “We already knew that the ferry segment is way above its weight – it only accounts for 3-5% of the total shipping industry – but the scale of the results surprised even seasoned insiders.
“Now we may have the political consideration which too often is more focused on airlines, rail operators and road transport. this study confirms the vital importance of our sector in the process. “
Corrigan announced the results last week at Interferry’s 45th annual conference in Santander, Spain, hosted by Brittany Ferries. At the event – themed The Future is Ferries – more than 300 attendees debated solutions and positive perspectives in response to challenges such as Covid and climate change.
In a keynote address, London-based LEK Consulting’s research into the post-pandemic outlook for the European passenger ferry market was reviewed by Becrom Basu, the company’s transportation and logistics practices partner. He noted that the successful rollout of the vaccination had given governments the confidence to gradually ease strict travel restrictions. This in turn released pent-up demand that pointed to a significant increase in travel to Europe to 2019 levels by next year.
Noting that the ferry market seemed best positioned to seize this potential, he added: “Online searches for ferries have largely returned to pre-Covid levels, while searches for flights remain significantly lower. improved while aviation suffered.
“The pandemic has created a much more positive view of ferries and a large portion of former non-users are likely to consider this option for their next trip. Ferries have become a clear winner in the battle of fashions.”
Towards zero emissions – view from above
CEOs of ferry companies from eight countries in Europe and the Americas took part in roundtables largely focused on plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade – with particular emphasis on the need for onshore infrastructure to support operators’ initiatives.
Among their comments:
Niclas Martensson, Stena Line, Sweden: “Zero is a must – it’s a survival tool – but there are no quick fixes. We are talking about different alternatives including hydrogen, methanol and batteries. We do not yet see that the public is ready to pay for it, but we cannot wait for their will. The industry must have the mindset to take the first step. We must protect Mother Earth.
Patty Rubstello, Washington State Ferries, USA: “Our customers want it and they don’t have to pay for it because the government will provide the dollars. In the future we will be fully hybrid. I’m struck by the single industry resolute attitude towards reducing emissions We are not trying to avoid it, we are looking for solutions.
Mark Collins, BC Ferries, Canada: “We see emissions reduction as safety – it’s planned. Electrification is the way forward for Canadian operators because we are fortunate to have a lot of clean hydroelectric power. Columbia has the cheapest supply in the world, but all of our LNG ships are designed to be electric in the future. “
Georges Bassoul, Balearia, Spain: “Six years ago, we decided to turn to gas and today eight of our ships are operating on it, and more are to come. We are very proud that emissions have fallen by 40%. We had to work. with the port authorities on bunkering and train our staff. But we do know that gas is probably transient, so we are looking at other technologies as well.
Mauricio Orozco, Ultramar, Mexico: “In terms of going green and reducing emissions… it seems to me that we could generate emissions elsewhere to get that fuel to your ships. I would love zero emission ships, but we only have one port with charging facilities. . “
Spiros Paschalis, Attica Group, Greece: “Operators cannot do it alone. We need a joint effort with port authorities and OEMs.
David Sopta, Jadrolinija, Croatia: “Ports need to be equipped with infrastructure to provide green fuel. If all the funding falls on the ferry companies, that’s not fair because it’s not just our problem.
John Napton, Condor Ferries, UK: “We depend on the ports and they have to be involved. The key message of this conference is that to reduce emissions, our port partners must participate.
Morgan Mooney, FRS / San Juan Clipper, USA: “The fact that the global ferry industry is able to come together again after the pandemic and share our vision reinforces what Interferry constantly reminds us … that we we are stronger together.
Regarding the ultimate campaign towards electrification, CEO Mike Corrigan has now signaled Interferry’s intention to gain buy-in from governments, ports and energy companies to provide adequate electrical infrastructure for ferries can hook up.
He said: “In the future, we will use the findings of our study on the size and economic impact of the ferry industry to influence policymakers to finance the development of port-side electricity. A unified approach is essential to support operators’ commitment to achieve emissions. reduction targets set by the IMO, the European Union and other regulators on the road to zero. “