Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2024

86 INTERVIEW Charting the BC Ferries course BC Ferries’ Nicolas Jimenez tells Justin Merrigan about the Canadian operator’s long-term transformative journey to reshape its coastal ferry services For many British Columbia coastal communities, BC Ferries services are a real lifeline. That is why the ferry operator has embarked on a mission to define what is needed to keep people, goods and services in coastal communities connected and moving through to 2050 and beyond. Recognising the challenges and opportunities posed by long-term trends in population growth, affordability, technological advances, the rise of electric vehicles and climate change impacts, BC Ferries has committed to creating a ferry system that is sustainable, resilient and equipped to serve future generations, explains CEO Nicolas Jimenez. When he began leading the business in March 2023, Jimenez was new to the ferry industry. “Stepping up into leadership roles is essential, particularly when a company has large and complex challenges to tackle,” he says. “For me, it’s precisely this complexity that makes me excited about the work that lies ahead.” Jimenez explains that in his first nine months in the role, he had the opportunity to talk with many of BC Ferries employees and observe how the company operates. “Through these conversations I got to know about the organisation’s many strengths, and the areas where we need more focus and discipline,” he explains. “The one constant with everyone I talked to was that we have a shared motivation to see the company succeed. “We’ve updated our structure to strengthen our strategic planning capabilities, enhance our ability to execute on enterprise priorities, deepen our focus recruiting and developing talent, and improve how we communicate, both within the organisation and to our customers, partners and stakeholders across the province.” BC Ferries has ordered four more hybrid electric Island-class vessels, bringing the number of ships in this class to 10. Jimenez says this is the single largest class in the company’s history. “Building more Island-class ferries reduces the number of vessel classes we operate, which in turn helps with maintenance, refit, training and other operational activities,” he adds. “Importantly, it gives us more flexibility to shift our ships across routes to keep people moving when the