Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2022

8 0 COMMENTARY Driving power grid growth and passenger upturn Mike Corrigan, CEO of global trade association Interferry, calls for investment in shoreside electricity supply and explains the potential for the ferry industry to lead post-pandemic recovery MIKE CORRIGAN A Canadian former energy industry executive, Mike Corrigan joined Interferry in 2017 after 14 years with BC Ferries – among the world’s largest ferry operators – where he was president and CEO from 2012. There are signs of a break in the Covid cloud hanging over the travel market, but I’ll come to that after revealing how Interferry plans to tackle an increasingly urgent aspect of the battle against climate change – the drive to meet demanding regulatory targets on reducing shipping’s greenhouse gas emissions. Maritime authorities are legislating for interim cuts of around 50 per cent by 2030 en route to zero emissions by 2050. Electrification is key to this ultimate ambition. The ferry sector already leads the shipping industry in embracing interim solutions like alternative fuels and hybrid power trains, and it is also a pioneer in moving towards the battery-based technology that will enable the longer-term objective. However, onboard innovation alone is not enough to ensure success. As constantly confirmed by speakers and delegates at our 45th annual conference in Santander, Spain, in October 2021, the ferry community is united about the crucial need for the rapid expansion of shoreside electrical infrastructure. Port authorities and power companies are lagging up to 10 years behind the initiatives taken by operators and their suppliers. Some onshore power supply (OPS) facilities already exist and cater for energy consumption at berth, allowing ships to shut down their diesel generators and thereby reduce emissions. In the future, it will become the norm for ferries to not only have their shoreside needs covered but also – importantly – to be able to store a lot of power in their onboard batteries to use for propulsion. Hence, it is vital that there is a quantum leap in the supply network. Raising worldwide awareness of this imperative among senior decision makers has now become the major focus of Interferry’s Photo: John Nedwidek/Interferry