Interferry calls on governments to use carbon tax revenues for onshore power supply

The shipping association has emphasised the importance of the technology in enabling the decarbonisation of ferry services

Interferry calls on governments to use carbon tax revenues for onshore power supply
The majority of ferry crossings are within the range of battery-powered vessels, says Interferry

By Alex Smith |

Interferry, the shipping association for the global ferry industry, has called for governments and utility providers to invest in onshore power supply (OPS) development to help the ferry sector introduce electric-powered ferries and decarbonise operations.

“Due to the nature of the ferry business, with a myriad of short to medium-long routes, operators around the world are already leading shipping’s charge towards electrification and hybridisation,” said Mike Corrigan, CEO of Interferry. “However, to meet the International Maritime Organization’s ambitious decarbonisation targets, more landside power supply is urgently needed.”

According to Interferry, the majority of ferry crossings take between 30 minutes to two hours, within the range of modern battery technology. However, the association has reported that several of its members are waiting on the development of OPS infrastructure to begin introducing fully electric and hybrid-electric ferries to their fleets.

“We have secured the funding necessary to build our first five zero-emission ferries, but we won’t be able to operate those vessels without a significant amount of new shore power,” said Seamus Murphy, executive director of Interferry member, the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Network. “Decarbonising the maritime industry is crucial to achieving our collective climate goals, but to make that happen, we need to focus on delivering more power to our waterfront and it needs to happen quickly.”

Interferry highlighted carbon taxes, which are charged on carbon emissions created while producing goods and services, as a source of funding for the proposed investments.

“The implementation of carbon-based taxes by many governments – such as the European Union’s recently introduced Emissions Trading System – offers the logical solution we are calling for,” said Corrigan. “Allocating money from these carbon funds can provide the OPS infrastructure that ferry operators need.”

He concluded: “To ensure that ferries across the world can continue to provide essential lifeline services, they must be able to meet national and global greenhouse gas reduction targets taking effect as early as 2030. It is therefore imperative that the mass rollout of OPS facilities is urgently undertaken.”

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