INTERFERRY FAMILY IN LONDON
By Coca H. Strobar
The 44th Annual Interferry Conference in London was a tightly-knit affair, almost a family re-union with CEO Mike Corrigan and wife setting the tempo on bonding, sharing good practices, updates on businesses, collaboration and assistance.
President Sean Collins, and CEO of MBNA Thames Clippers welcomed to London all delegates and participants, an international ferry fraternity.
(Collins co-founded Thames Clippers in 1999, his early career on the Thames as a captain. He built it from a single catamaran to a fleet of 13 vessels for over 2,000 passengers, with annual traffic of about 3.3 million. He apprenticed to Watermen and Lightermen, as a third generation Waterman and later appointed Waterman to Her Majesty the Queen in February 2008.)
October 7 to 8.
At the Intercontinental-London, the conference had a battery of speakers on Innovations: on technicals and technology, shipbuilding and autonomous ferries, climate change, eco-friendly alternatives, domestic ferry safety and training.
Corrigan moderated the first day, focused that Interferry continues to be the voice in safety and operational best practices; heard for the industry at regulatory agencies such as IMO; that, the trade association’s value continues to grow.
Mike was never groping with his solid credentials as CEO of BC Ferries, one of the world’s largest ferry operators, recognized as a world leader in safety and operational excellence in Mike’s tenure. Record earnings were set, $2-billion invested in ships and terminals while establishing itself as an employee-centric company.
Next day moderator was Simon Johnson, Founder of Shipshape Consulting.
Sec-Gen Guy Platten, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) gave the keynote: The Future of Ferries in Shipping, admonishing to “… light the path. What you do now, the industry will follow. We want to learn from you in order to take the whole industry forward…“
Author David Rowan, founding Editor-in-chief of WIRED’s UK edition (2008-17) gave approaches that could help the ferry industry build new revenue streams, attract talent, and safeguard the industry’s commercial future.
CEOs of major global firms were in the panel, prominently:
- Mark Collins, President and CEO, BC Ferries
- Janete Bell, CEO, P & O Ferries
- Greg Bombard, Co-founder and President, Catalina Channel Express
- Paul Luxon, CEO, Condor Ferries
- Supapan Pichaironarongsongkram, Chairperson, Supatra Group of companies
- Mark MacDonald, Chair and CEO, Atlantic Ferries Holdings Limited
- Duncan Mackison, CEO, David MacBrayne Limited
- Bernard Dwyer, CEO, TT-Line Company Pty. Ltd.
- Christophe Mathieu, CEO, Brittany Ferries
- Spiros Paschalis, CEO, Attica Group
- John Steen-Mikklesen, Chairman, Samsø-Linien (Denmark)
There were women speakers, Ms. Mary Ann Pastrana, EVP-Archipelago, impressive with her points in Training in tandem with Ephrem dela Cerna, Jr. of Seaversity.
Their paper is Training Seafarers for Tomorrow, basically delivered at the 5th Annual Ferry Safety and Technology Conference of the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association (WFSA) last February 21 to 22 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Ms. Pastrana humbly admitted “… it’s sad that an archipelagic nation is lagging behind in the maritime industry…” but not anymore. That realization came in the 2010 Interferry in New York because “… Interferry has been a part of our journey, in our modernization journey. You’ve been a great help people. This network, this community right here have been our big brothers and we are truly grateful and blessed.”
She shares Archipelago now have 16 ships, the most modern, designed in the Philippines, 246 crew members, 326 shore people, excluding stewards and security services of a thousand, present in 17 ports nationwide, AND right on target: 60 ships by 2030.
E-learning system was picked from Interferry, introduced as first in the Philippines, partnered with Marine learning systems with Mary Gold. BC Ferries also enriched the perspective of the Pastrana couple.
Dela Cerna is a technology partner of Archipelago (FastCat), teaches at the Phil Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) and Maritime Academy of the Asia and Pacific (MAAP), and with the Dept of Science and Technology (DOST) in developing Virtual and Augmented Realities, gamified E-learning Platforms and Blockchain Certification Systems.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Interferry and the Phil Inter-Island Shipping Association (PISA) was signed by Interferry Pres. Mike Corrigan and PISA Pres. Chet Pastrana. This is for two years on exchange of ideas and concepts in shipping trends, and cooperation on trade missions.
Interferry is on full sails helping a member, Irish Ferries, with its dispute on Passenger Rights against the European Union (EU).
Preparations for the 2020 Annual Interferry Conference in Tasmania, Australia are on full swing, led by Bernard Dwyer of the Spirit of Tasmania.
Attendance at the London event broke all records: 428 delegates of a total 516 participants. The nearest was in 2017, with 358 delegates of a total 468 participants.
On Oct. 6th, Welcome Reception on the River Thames aboard the Silver Sturgeon; the next day, Networking reception at the Cutty Sark; the last day, Farewell Dinner at the Old Royal Naval College Painted Hall.
Optional tours were available for spouses and partners:
- Tower of London, an exclusive viewing of the Crown Jewels
- Kensington Palace, a morning with the Royals, a private, pre-opening tour for an exclusive look inside the former home of Princess Diana.
- Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian. Edinburgh is world-class tourist destination, stunning skylines to sandy beaches, festivals to fireworks
Onboard the Thames Clippers’ flagship vessel, Oct 9th is a tour of the Thames Clippers’ repair yard and operations along the river, the recently upgraded Woolwich Ferry for transport across the River Thames. Awesome is the demo of its completed berth upgrades including the magnetic auto-mooring system. The Woolwich Ferry system is operated by Briggs Marine Contractors under contract to Transport for London.