Mike Corrigan discusses Interferry’s priorities for 2024

While greenhouse gas emissions dictate Interferry’s regulatory agenda, the global association’s long-standing engagement with domestic ferry safety remains key 

Mike Corrigan discusses Interferry’s priorities for 2024

By Guest |

Protecting the environment is high on the regulatory agenda for the global shipping industry. On 1 January 2024, the Maritime into the European Union Emission Trading System (EU ETS) entered force, requiring operators to pay for the carbon dioxide they emit. With today’s fuel prices, the additional cost is estimated to be around €150 ($163) per ton of fuel. 

EU ETS covers 100 per cent of intra-EU voyages and 50 per cent of voyages from/to the EU for all ships above 5,000gt. It is likely that the UK will introduce a corresponding scheme in future. There is a phase-in period with 40 per cent coverage for 2024, 70 per cent for 2025 and 100 per cent as from 2026. In addition to carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide will be covered by the EU Monitoring, Reporting and Verification from 2024 and by the EU ETS from 2026. 

Similarly, 2023 marked the introduction of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII). It has caused difficulty and confusion for ro-pax and ro-ro ferry operators; from the onset it was subject to a 2026 review before being equipped with any compliance requirements. This indicates that the CII was not fit for purpose when introduced.  

We have consistently argued that an operational energy efficiency requirement is inherently incompatible with the diverse fleets of ro-pax and ro-ro ferries. In terms of carbon dioxide saved, it is considerably less effective than more direct instruments such as a fuel levy or standard. Additionally, over 90 per cent of ro-pax tonnage affected by the CII also has to comply with EU ETS and FuelEU Maritime carbon content requirements, thus making CII relatively redundant. Interferry believes the way forward is to keep CII as a repository of data, along with the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan, but never use it for non-compliance penalties. 

For several years, Interferry has been pushing to remove the minimum required speed element from the High Speed Craft (HSC) Code and have it replaced by a new HSC & Light Craft Code, paving the way to increase the number of lightweight craft and ultimately lower the ferry industry’s greenhouse gas footprint. Denmark is working with Interferry member OSK Design to conduct a gap analysis which should form the basis for general exemptions under EU regulations. We expect this to be the stepping stone for the general inclusion of lightweight craft in the current HSC Code. 

Another challenge facing operators is the EU preparing its own border management initiatives, coined the Entry/Exit Systems (EES) and European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), respectively. This automated IT system for registering travellers from third countries will be trialled in the upcoming months before becoming effective in October 2024. The EES will primarily disrupt ferry lines operating between third countries and the EU, notably the UK and the Continent, and North Africa-Spain, France and Italy. We encourage them to join Interferry in engaging with the authorities to keep travel disruptions to a manageable level during its rollout. 


Adobe Stock/R.Jeff Huth

Safety also remains a critical part of our DNA and core values. This is why we will co-host a two-day Africa Ferry Safety seminar in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in mid-April 2024 (read more in an interview with Oliver Weiss, chair of Interferry’s Domestic Ferry Safety Committee on page 122). 

We have also launched a new ‘All Aboard’ 2024-2026 Strategic Plan. It builds on our 2020-2023 strategy to provide greater value to our membership, add more regulatory/public affairs resources, and further our commitment to improving ferry safety in the developing world. We have five objectives:  

1. Stronger together: bring the global ferry industry together by providing a platform to share innovation, knowledge and experience.  

2. Regulatory influence: encourage the development of effective regulations and policies that support safe and environmentally sustainable ferry operations by engaging with external and internal key stakeholders.  

3. Value to membership: ensure member satisfaction and ongoing engagement while incrementally growing the organisation to include under-represented membership regions.  

4. Brand recognition: expand recognition of Interferry as the trusted voice of the global ferry industry through public affairs, strategic partnerships and enhanced communications. 

5. Environment and safety: encourage environmental sustainability across the global ferry industry and promote domestic ferry safety in developing regions. 

These commitments, and our 26-30 October conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, show we aren’t resting on our laurels in our relentless efforts to remain the voice of the global ferry industry. Spread the word! 

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2024 issue of  Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe  for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.  

Contact author


Subscribe to the Cruise & Ferry newsletter

  • ©2024 Tudor Rose. All Rights Reserved. Cruise & Ferry is published by Tudor Rose.