Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2022

8 1 lobbying activity. We are reaching out to local, regional and national governments, as well as to port and energy company managers, to underline the ferry sector’s value to society and win support for OPS investment. We will be delivering a stark message: portside power development is essential to the zero emissions goal otherwise countless ferries will be unable to comply and forced into premature retirement, severely compromising passenger and freight capacity on both lifeline and leisure services. Ammunition for this campaign was evident at our conference, when we announced the findings of a study commissioned from specialist UK consultancy Oxford Economics on the size and economic impact of the global ferry industry. The latest available preCovid full-year figures showed that, in 2019, the industry operated 15,400 ferries and carried 4.27 billion passengers – rivalling the airline total – as well as 373 million vehicles. It also supported 1.1 million jobs and contributed $60 billion to the world GDP. These startling statistics surely make the case for OPS support indisputable. Meanwhile we are keeping close watch on the prospects for tourist services returning to pre-virus normality in the coming months. Scientific and medical opinion suggests that the new Omicron variant is far less potent than previous incarnations. Passenger ferry operators implemented trendsetting ‘safe travel’ measures to combat the first – and apparently worse – wave of the pandemic, so they can take heart if the experts are right and travel restrictions continue to be eased. The sector is certainly in prime position to benefit whenever pent-up travel demand is released, as revealed in a keynote conference address on postpandemic prospects for the European ferry market. Research by the transport and logistics division of London-based L.E.K. Consulting indicated that the success of vaccination roll-outs could see passenger bookings back to 2019 levels by this year – not least because ferries were ranked as the safest travel mode for avoiding infection. It’s clear that many opportunities as well as challenges lie ahead. The scene is set for Interferry and its members – 260 operators and suppliers in 40 countries – to stand by an inspirational truism about perseverance: ‘It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.’ CFR The Economic Impact of the Global Ferry Industry in 2019 THE GLOBAL FERRY FLEET IN NUMBERS TRAFFIC VOLUMES GDP CONTRIBUTION EMPLOYMENT CONTRIBUTION GDP and employment estimates based on economic modelling by Oxford Economics. Source: Interferry 31 WITH A COMBINED GROSS TONNAGE OF MORE THAN MILLION GROSS TONNES 15,400 THE GLOBAL FERRY FLEET COMPRISES VESSELS $60 BILLION CONTRIBUTION TO WORLD GDP IN 2019 $17 BILLION DIRECT $25 BILLION SUPPLY CHAIN $25 BILLION WORKER SPENDING 1.1 MILLION JOBS SUPPORTED GLOBALLY IN 2019 218,000 DIRECT 460,000 SUPPLY CHAIN 422,000 WORKER SPENDING 4.27 BILLION PASSENGERS* 373 MILLION VEHICLES (CARS BUSES AND TRAILERS) AT LEAST TRANSPORTED IN 2019