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Innovation For Competitive Ferry Industry In The North Sea

Innovation For Competitive Ferry Industry In The North Sea

FREE PIC- Keith Brown at ITransfer SEStran Conference 06

Innovation For A Competitive Ferry Industry In The North Sea Region

European conference on ferry operations, landings and design

The importance of innovation in maintaining a competitive ferry industry in the North Sea Region (NSR) has been highlighted by the Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown at a European conference in Edinburgh.

Mr Brown was attending an event on Sustainable ferries; exploring innovation in the North Sea Region, organised by the iTransfer (Innovative Transport Solutions for Fjords, Estuaries and Rivers) project.

Speaking to an audience including iTransfer partners and industry representatives, Mr Brown said: “It is essential that the ferry and shipping industries continue to demonstrate the innovation and excellence they are renowned for, to develop new ways to improve efficiency in the face of increasing costs and competition from other sectors.”

The Minister also highlighted the importance of collaboration in developing solutions to the challenges facing the industry.

The iTransfer project is part of Interreg IVB, working with partners from the NSR Programme to make ferry transport more freely accessible and sustainable, and encourage more people to travel by water.

iTransfer project partners from Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK presented their work on a range of themes including enhancing the efficiency of existing ferry operations through new technologies; encouraging a more supportive policy framework for public transport; reducing ferries’ fuel consumption and emissions; and developing innovative sustainable ferry designs.

Laurienne Tibbles, iTransfer Project Manager at lead partner organisation the Institute for Sustainability, said: “Collaboration amongst iTransfer partners is helping to drive innovation and new opportunities.  By sharing their knowledge and experience, partners are developing improved solutions for ferry operations in the North Sea Region and beyond.”

Cees de Waal, Managing Director at ferry operator TESO, commented: “Sharing experiences of sustainable vessel design with transnational partners has been beneficial for TESO as we plan for our latest, cleanest vessel and explore ways to reduce the environmental impact of our operations.”

Through iTransfer, partner organisation the South East Scotland Transport Partnership (SEStran) has developed a toolkit to help partners combat rising levels of traffic congestion and pollution by moving passengers from road to water.

SEStran is also working in partnership with East Lothian Council to renovate North Berwick’s Galloway pier to make it more accessible and suitable for low tide landings. With Maid of the Forth, a privately owned tourist ferry company, SEStran is establishing services from North Berwick Harbour to the Bass Rock, Anstruther and the Isle of May, using the most fuel-efficient operation of the vessel by trialling fuel flow meters and biodiesel fuel mixtures.

Russell Imrie, Chair of SEStran, commented: “SEStran sees ferry transportation as an excellent sustainable transport option for South East Scotland. The combination of changing passenger behaviour and creating more efficient ferry services will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mainstream sustainable approaches to transportation. The Forth estuary should be a transportation hub, not a barrier.”

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